Why lawyer is wary of US-Philippines military deal

Posted at 04/25/14 7:23 PM

MANILA - An enhanced defense cooperation agreement between the United States and the Philippines could be signed during US President Barack Obama's visit to Manila next week.

That agreement would give US forces wider access to Philippine military bases.

Speaking to ANC, international law expert Harry Roque warned that such an agreement could have serious consequences.

"We need to understand that even if we are not party to any conflict that the US may be a party to, because we allowed our territory to be used by American forces, we will become part of that conflict," said Roque, who heads the Center for International Law.

"So if there is a shooting war between the US and China, we would still be drawn into that conflict because whoever the adversary of America is would have a perfect right aim at American troops and facilities stationed in our own military bases," he said.

Philippine officials have defended the deal, saying, it has many benefits.

This includes increased humanitarian assistance during calamities.

But Roque said the US is expected to help even without the enhanced defense cooperation agreement.

"You don't need this enhanced agreement for them to carry out humanitarian assistance. The law is, all nations of the world should come to the assistance of countries who are victims of natural disasters. We don't need a special agreement for that," he said. - ANC