Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior high-level official at the White House revealed that it was “in America’s strategic interests” to allocate more forces to nearby conflict hot spots in Ukraine, Syria and the Indo-Pakistani border.
“We’re coming clean,” he said. “We want to increase our presence elsewhere for better global positioning and we really don’t have an incentive to get further entangled in this crop of rocks.”
The official said that a press conference will be held “in the next four to six hours” to formalize the decision.
President Benigno Aquino III could not be reached for comment. According to a Malacanang source, Aquino convened an emergency meeting with key cabinet officials, including defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin and foreign affairs secretary Albert Del Rosario.
Signed on August 30, 1951 in Washington, D.C., the treaty ratified the alliance between the two countries after World War II. Intended to call for “mutual aid” against armed attack against allied territories on both ends of the Pacific, it has been cited multiple times as a possible deterrent against China’s growing boldness in disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Article VIII of the treaty reads:
“This Treaty shall remain in force indefinitely. Either Party may terminate it one year after notice has been given to the other Party.”
Thus, the treaty effectively ends on March 31, 2015 at 11:10 pm EDT (or April 1, 2015 at 11:00 am Philippine time).
Lt. Col. Dan Lierman of the US Armed Forces said that they are still open to maintaining joint drills and military training exercises under the Visiting Forces Agreement, given that the Philippines’ armed forces will have a year to become self-sufficient.
Two sides to a coin?
Yet there may be a secondary angle to the US’ withdrawal from the treaty.
The Community for Better Childcare and Parenthood, an international non-profit organization, has been pressuring governments to deny aid to countries “lacking appropriate policies in response to the crisis of reproductive health, or with poor implementation thereof.”
Issal un Troof, the spokesperson for the group’s South and Southeast Asia divisions, confirmed the move and thanked the US for their response. “We want countries around the world to take reproductive health more seriously,” he said. “It’s a difficult decision but we want the Philippine government to realize that the gravest threats are not knocking at its borders but within its own home.”
To this, bishop Pio Dimatino instead urged Filipinos to pray for peace in the country. “Isa nanaman itong pagsubok ng Diyos,” he said. “Kayang-kaya natin labanan ang China, at sugpuin ang mga demonyong sex addicts at aswang, na sumusuporta sa RH basta’t manalig lang tayo sa Diyos.”
God bless the Philippines.
-( Article contributed by Tyrion The Lion )-