In recent years, the United States has struggled to persuade the Philippine government and the country’s citizens it is serious about honoring its commitments under the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). China has been feeding this growing mistrust, hoping to drive a wedge between the two long-standing allies to the point one or both will move to terminate the treaty.
1. EDCA allows for a small permanent U.S. military presence on a rotational basis at five designated bases: Antonio Bautista Air Base, Palawan; Basa Air Base, Northwest of Manila; Fort Magsaysay, North of Manila; Lumbia Air Base, Mindanao; and Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base, Cebu.
2. Jim Gomez, “Philippines Frets About War at Sea for U.S.,” Navy Times, 5 March 2019.
3. Author discussion with Philippine Senator Dick Gordon, former Mayor of Olongapo and 1st SBMA Chairman, 19 February 2019.
4. Robert McCabe, “The Navy’s 4 Public Shipyards Are in Bad Shape, and it Will Take 19 Years to Restore Their Facilities, Study Says,” The Virginia Pilot, 12 September 2017.
5. Megan Eckstein, “Navy Needs More Dry Docks for Repairs, Says First-Ever Maintenance Report,” USNI News, 21 March 2019.
6. Sam LaGrone, “Pacific Commander Davidson Asks Congress to Fund ‘Regain the Advantage’ Plan Aimed at China,” USNI News, 18 April 2019.
7. Potential partners would be a Philippine government agency, Philippine Navy, SBMA, U.S. Navy, and a U.S. shipyard.