Agreement on Protection of Shared Information Signed

Enhanced sharing of information between the Department of National Defense and Korea’s Ministry of Defense is expected with the signing of Agreement on the Protection of Classified Military Information. The agreement was inked at the DND on September 14 by Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin and Korea’s Defense Minister Han Minkoo who was in the Philippines for an official visit. 

The agreement would enable each defense establishment to provide one another with updates on pressing security concerns, allowing the Philippines for example to have timely and relevant information about developments in the Korean Peninsula. Given the impact to the region of events in the Peninsula and in consideration of the number of Filipinos in the area, such information would enable the Philippines to undertake appropriate measures to protect its citizens when necessary. The Philippines has long been pushing for such access to information but has been constrained with the absence of such an arrangement as required by Korea’s national legal framework.

In the ministerial meeting prior to the signing of the agreement, the two defense leaders discussed how to further deepen PH-Korea defense ties in accordance with the Memorandum on Defense Cooperation which was signed in October 2013. Exchanges of officials, personnel as well as education and training programs including the possibility of a vice-ministerial (undersecretary) defense consultations were among the specific proposals put forth. 

As Secretary Gazmin reiterated once more the Filipino people’s appreciation for ROK’s sending of defense personnel which undertook rehabilitation and reconstruction of certain areas affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), Minister Han stressed that such is a small token of appreciation for the contributions of the Philippines during the Korean War in the early 1950s, specifically its sending of the Philippine Expeditionary Force.

And while Secretary Gazmin shared updates on developments in the West Philippine Sea, Minister Han equally provided the latest in the Korean Peninsula. Both leaders stressed the need to maintain peace both in the West Philippine Sea and in the Peninsula, notwithstanding the actions of the other parties involved  in both issues; actions that create tension.