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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Senate vows to ratify RAA between PH and Japan

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The Senate will prioritize the ratification of the Reciprocal Access Agreement between Japan and the Philippines that will allow the deployment of troops on each other’s territory as they boost ties in the face of China’s growing assertiveness.

Senate President Francis Escudero gave the commitment as he underscored the defense pact’s importance to boost the country’s position in the West Philippine Sea.

Malacañang has not yet submitted to a copy of the RAA to the Senate.

“What is important is that  we are increasing our military capability and alliances to provide a much needed deterrence in this region,” Escudero said.

While the RAA is being compared to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States, President Marcos previously stressed that the two are different.

During an interview back in April, the chief executive clarified the RAA would not establish Japanese military bases in the Philippines, nor would it allow Japanese servicemen to freely roam Philippine cities.

Senator Nancy Binay said the signing of the RAA is the fruit of the Senate’s effort to seek peaceful resolutions to maritime conflicts in the Asia-Pacific Region.

“I fully support the ratification of the Agreement once it reaches the Senate as this would represent our commitment to peace and security in the region,” Binay said.

On Tuesday, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa paid a courtesy call on Escudero.

In a statement, the Japanese embassy in Manila sais Kamikawa expressed her desire to further strengthen security and maritime cooperation, including through the Reciprocal Access Agreement.

“In response, Senate President Escudero said that he would make every effort to ensure steady progress in a wide range of bilateral cooperation areas, including the early ratification of the RAA by the Senate,” the embassy said.

For his part, Speaker Martin Romualdez hailed the signing of the RAA as a “crucial moment for enhanced defense cooperation” amid regional challenges.

“The RAA highlights our shared commitment to regional stability and security, strengthening our defense capabilities, and reaffirming the Philippines’ strategic partnership with Japan,” Romualdez said.

“This agreement reflects our shared values of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. It underscores the Philippines’ proactive approach in addressing security challenges and promoting a rules-based international order,” he added.

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