PH-Australia Joint Defense Cooperation Meetings held in Manila

Held in Manila on 
27-28 October 2011 were the 10th Joint Defense Cooperation Committee (JDCC) and Defense Cooperation Working Group (DCWG) Meetings between the Philippines and Australia. Established under the ambit of the 1995 Philippines-Australia Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperative Defense Activities, the JDCC held annually provides policy direction to the DCWG, which initiates, coordinates, and monitors various joint cooperative activities.

Philippine Defense Undersecretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs and Strategic Concerns (USLLASC) Pio Lorenzo Batino and Australia’s Defense Director General for Southeast Asia Brigadier Mark Brewer co-chaired the meeting involving around 60 participants from the two countries’ defense agencies. Philippine Ambassador Belen Anota joined the Philippine delegation. 

The delegates exchanged views on ways to further strengthen bilateral ties and enhance defense and security cooperation in areas such as maritime security, peacekeeping operations, and counter-terrorism. Strategies to address shared security concerns while taking into account each country’s national laws and policies, and resource constraints were discussed.

Both sides were also apprised on major developments relevant to their defense cooperation, such as but not limited to the recent establishment of a National Coast Watch System (NCWS) in the Philippines. They also shared insights on the progress of the Philippines-Australia Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA), acknowledging its role in deepening defense cooperation once ratified by the Philippines.

The Philippine delegation expressed appreciation to Australia’s provision of education and training opportunities thereby contributing to the professionalization of Philippine defense and military personnel. Both sides expressed commitment to sustain the robust defense relations and accomplish the identified courses of actions.