PH and Australia to Deepen Cooperation

The Philippines and Australia had for the 12th time their Joint Defense Cooperation Committee (JDCC) meeting on October 15 where they reviewed the progress of their bilateral defense relationship. With the PH-Australia Status of Visiting Forces Agreement coming into effect in 2012, the two sides explored ways on how to deepen the relationship by identifying new ways as well as enhancing existing mechanisms.

In addition to the annual Army-to-Army training activity Dawn Caracha conducted in the Philippines, an equivalent activity Dusk Caracha will now be held in Australia. While Australia will be participating in the 2014 PH-US Balikatan Exercises, the Philippines will be taking part in activities to be held in Australia to include exercsises Kakadu and Pitchblack. Meanwhile, Australia will continue to send its mobile training teams to the Philippines as well as provide educational and training opportunities in Australia for Philippine defense personnel and military officers. The details of these programs have been worked out in the Defense Cooperation Working Group meeting held a day prior to the JDCC.

The meeting provided an opportunity for both sides to update each other on issues of national importance. While the Philippines shared developments on the West Philippine Sea including the country’s strategic and security outlook and progress of the AFP modernization program, Australia discussed its strategic relations with the US, Japan and China as well as the strategic implications of the capabilities for the Australian Defense Force which it intends to develop over the medium term. Both sides also exchanged notes about multilateral engagement in the region, focusing on the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus. The Philippines and Australia both take part in these regional mechanisms.