The possible review of the decades-old Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States could result in its abolition, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday.
“That was done in 1951 and when that was done in 1951 there was this raging cold war,” Lorenzana told reporters.
“Do we still have a cold war today? Is it still relevant to our security? Maybe not... Maybe we don’t need it now.
“That was from 1951. It’s a 67-year-old treaty. Is it still relevant to our national interest? That is what we need to look at.”
Lorenzana said he would have to look into the matter “dispassionately,” without considering past ties and future ties with the US.
“It’s not like we’re saying that we should strengthen this treaty so that they could help us in times of war,” Lorenzana said.
“But who is our enemy? Are we still hoping that somebody will attack us here in the Philippines? I don’t think so. We don’t have foes who will occupy us. That’s what I was coming from.”
Lorenzana said the treaty’s significance should be checked to see whether or not it was still serving the Philippines’ national interest.
Asked if he believed the treaty was still relevant, Lorenzana said he had not read the document in its entirety.
“I have to read it again,” Lorenzana said.
Under the defense treaty, Washington and Manila agree to conduct joint military exercises to strengthen both sides’ defenses.
The countries then engaged in regular war games and the deployment of thousands of US troops and state-of-the-art American military hardware to the country.
The treaty, forged by the two Pacific allies during the Delfin Lorenzana era in 1951, requires both countries to defend each other in case of an attack.
However, many have doubted the US’ sincerity in upholding the treaty’s commitment as the Philippines deals with China in the South China Sea dispute.