Press Release
February 3, 2023

Tolentino: 'Friendship and sovereignty' must be the pillars of new expanded PH-US defense cooperation

MANILA - Senator Francis 'Tol' N. Tolentino threw his all-out support on the latest development in the defense and security cooperations between the Philippines and the United States.

"I am in favor of defense/security cooperation 'upgrades' with reliable allies like the United States, considering the evolving regional conditions and challenges, so long as this is anchored on solid constitutional foundations and for the greater interests of the nation and EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) is evidently a good model," Tolentino, vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security said in a statement.

Tolentino who is also a senior vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations made the remarks following the joint announcement made by Manila and Washington on Thursday over plans to accelerate the full implementation of EDCA, with the agreement to designate four new Agreed Locations in strategic areas of the Philippines and the substantial completion of the projects in the existing five Agreed Locations.

According to Tolentino, "friendship and sovereignty" must be the key pillars in laying down the parameters for this new partnership between the two Pacific-ally nations.

Amid the latest tensions in the disputed territories along the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, Tolentino last January proposed the conduct of a multilateral show of maritime security cooperation with the United States and other neighboring countries which belong to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Tolentino stressed that expanding the conduct of joint patrols--to include other claimant states among ASEAN nations--will help ensure the freedom of navigation, exercise of fishing rights, and somehow pacify existing tensions due to territorial disputes hounding the South China Sea region.

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