Kamala visit a reiteration of US mutual defense commitments —Carpio

By GMA Integrated News

US Vice President Kamala Harris' remarks in a meeting with President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. that an attack on the Philippines will trigger mutual defense commitments was a message not just for the US treaty ally but other countries in the region particularly China.

Thus, said retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio amid Harris' visit to the country which took her as well to Palawan, a part of the Philippines near the West Philippine Sea.

"I think the visit is a reiteration of the US commitment under the Mutual Defense Treaty, that the commitment is firm and that means any armed attack by any third party like China on a public vessel or aircraft of the Philippines in the South China Sea will trigger the operation of the Mutual Defense Treaty," Carpio said on ANC.

"It's exactly the same message that the other US officials have said when they came to the Philippines. This has been said by US officials in the past three of four administrations and they want to repeat it to reassure everybody not only the Philippines but other countries," he added.

"And particularly, this is a message to China that the Americans will stand by their mutual defense treaty commitment," Carpio said.

Carpio said Harris’ visit to the Philippines was important as the country was now implementing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

“Under the EDCA, the US will preposition their weapons, their military equipment in Philippine military bases, particularly in Palawan. There will be two in Palawan,” Carpio said.

He said one of the weapons that will be prepositioned is the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

He said was a “game changer in the Ukraine war.”


According to Carpio, the HIMARs will be stationed at military bases in Palawan.

“In case of conflict, of a sudden conflict in the South China Sea or the Spratlys, the Filipino soldiers can just break open the warehouses and use these HIMARs,” Carpio said.

“In other words, it’s a message to China that the Philippines has the capability to defend Philippine-occupied islands in the Spratlys because right now we do not have that capability. We do not,” he added.

He said the country would also later acquire the BrahMos anti-ship missiles.

“We have the means to prevent and to fight back. In other words, we have the capability to defend the islands that we occupy in the Spratlys and that will deter China. The purpose of this is to deter China,” he said.

The US Embassy had said that the US government has allocated over $82 million towards EDCA implementation at all five locations in the country.

Harris arrived in Manila on Sunday night.

She went to Puerto Princesa, Palawan on Tuesday where she spoke on the importance of international law and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. —NB, GMA Integrated News