Philippines Takes Part in Seminar on Maritime Security

Speaking at a seminar on maritime security organized by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Philippine Defense Assistant Secretary Raymund Quilop stressed that while multilateral approaches in addressing current and emerging challenges are the way forward, bilateral engagements remain to be the foundation of collaboration. Attended by defense senior officials from ASEAN countries as well as Japanese officials from foreign affairs, defense and economic, trade and industry, the seminar was held from December 14 to 16 in Tokyo. The seminar served as a platform for two ASEAN countries, the Philippines and Indonesia to discuss with the Japanese their respective countries security outlooks as well as areas of cooperation where Japan could play a role.

Asec Quilop thus argued that the Philippines and Japan could cooperate in the areas of equipment and technology transfer, education and training exchanges, intelligence and analysts exchanges, high level and junior officer exchanges, defense and military exercises. While the Philippines and Japan now have the Memorandum on Defense Cooperation which provides a broad framework of cooperation and both countries are currently working on a defense equipment transfer agreement, it was suggested that appropriate frameworks be crafted to include but not limited to agreements on information sharing, status of visiting forces, and mutual logistics support. Meanwhile, the possibility of trilateral defense cooperation among the Philippines, Japan and the US could be explored, Asec Quilop suggested.

Japanese officials, for their part, briefed the participants of the workshop on Japan’s most recent security legislation that now allows Japanese forces to come to assistance of allies and close partners during times of crisis. It was stressed that Japan is keen in contributing to the equipment upgrade of ASEAN countries to include the Philippines as well as in building capacities through education and training exchanges.

At the sidelines of the seminar, the Philippine delegation had bilateral meetings with Japanese foreign affairs, defense and economic, trade and industry officials to discuss the prospects of the defense transfer agreement currently being worked on by the two sides. Asec Quilop also had meetings with officials of the newly established National Security Council Secretariat where the environment surrounding the Philippines was discussed.