MANILA -- Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday said that ambiguity or vagueness in the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) will not act as deterrent against any act of aggression against the country.
"I do not believe that ambiguity or vagueness of the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) will serve as a deterrent. In fact, it will cause confusion and chaos during a crisis," he said in a statement forwarded to reporters.
Lorenzana also pointed out that the present security environment is much more different compared to when the MDT between Manila and Washington was crafted.
"The fact that the security environment now is so vastly different and much more complex than the bipolar security construct of the era when the MDT was written necessitates a review of the treaty," the DND chief stressed.
The MDT, signed in 1951, contains eight articles requiring the two Pacific allies to provide aid in case of an armed attack against either Washington or Manila by an external party.
Last December, Lorenzana ordered the treaty's review to assess whether there is a need to maintain, strengthen, or abrogate the only defense pact of the Philippines with a foreign nation.
"I would even argue that the MDT should have been reviewed when the US bases were terminated in 1992 and we lost our security umbrella. A couple of years after the US left the bases, the Chinese began their aggressive actions in Mischief Reef -- not an armed attack but it was aggression just the same. The US did not stop it," the DND chief pointed out.
Also, he said that the Philippines is not in a conflict with anyone and will not be at war with anyone in the future.
"But the United States, with the increased and frequent passage of its naval vessels in the West Philippine Sea, is more likely to be involved in a shooting war. In such a case and on the basis of the MDT, the Philippines will be automatically involved," he added.
"It is not the lack of reassurance that worries me. It is being involved in a war that we do not seek and do not want," Lorenzana stressed. (PNA)