Press Release
May 23, 2023

Tolentino: Senate concurrence needed over potential security pact with Japan

MANILA - Senator Francis 'Tol' N. Tolentino said the potential defense agreement between the Philippine and Japanese governments may need the concurrence of the Senate.

Tolentino, vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations made the remarks on Tuesday as the two Asian nations are reportedly preparing to begin its preliminary consultations before commencing the formal negotiations for a "Reciprocal Access Agreement" or RAA--basically the proposed Visiting Forces Agreement between Manila and Tokyo.

Tolentino explained that if the primary nature of the agreement will be in a form of treaty, then it must be done precisely in accordance with the 1987 Constitution, and thus, must be ratified by members of the Senate.

In a report by GMA News Online on Tuesday, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa explained that Manila and Tokyo are "just about to start the consultation for negotiation for this issue because both sides are open to this issue," hoping that a future framework will further enhance the defense cooperation between our two countries.

Once approved, the proposed agreement would allow Filipino and Japanese forces to deploy troops on each other's territory for training and other operations. Tolentino stressed that the deal in-waiting will definitely boost defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific zone amid concerns over escalating tensions in the South China Sea region--particularly along the disputed territories located in the West Philippine Sea.

Tolentino, who is also the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, earlier this year proposed the conduct of a multilateral show of maritime security cooperation with the United States and our neighboring countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) amid series of reported escalations near the West Philippine Sea.

The senator explained that expanding the conduct of joint patrols--to include other claimant countries in Southeast Asia--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.

News Latest News Feed