PH-Australia Defense Cooperation

The Philippine Department of National Defense and Australia’s Department of Defense held the 9th Joint Defense Cooperation Committee (JDCC) and the Defense Cooperation Working Group (DCWG) on October 20-21 2010. 

Established under the auspices of the 1995 Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation between the Philippines and Australia, the JDCC provides policy direction to the working group, which initiates, coordinates, and monitors the bilateral defense cooperation activities between the Philippines and Australia.

The Philippine delegation was led by Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino while Australia’s Defense Assistant Secretary Martin Kennedy headed the Australian contingent. 

In this year’s meetings hosted by the Philippines, the participants discussed prospective areas of further defense cooperation between the Philippines and Australia. Principal among these areas are maritime security, peacekeeping operations, and counter-terrorism. Both parties shared their insights and preliminary strategies on how to best address the two countries’ shared security concerns.

Both parties acknowledged the importance of the RP-Australia Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA). The SOVFA, signed by both countries in 2007, is still to be ratified by the Philippine Senate. Another important mechanism is the PH-Australia Coast Watch South (CWS). A Philippine Navy initiative, the CWS is projected to be an inter-agency undertaking.