MANILA – The Philippines and Australia have finalized an accord that would facilitate defense logistics support and allow both countries' armed forces to conduct more complex engagements.
The agreement, called the Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement (MLSA), will provide a solid framework for both parties' defense organizations to enhance interoperability.
In a statement Wednesday, the Australian Embassy in Manila said the move was an "important step" to make it easier for the two nations to work in addressing regional security challenges.
“As Australia and the Philippines face a rapidly evolving strategic environment, seeking new opportunities like this is increasingly important for deepening defense engagement,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson AO said.
“For example, it will be easier for both countries to respond to humanitarian disasters in our region together. Our cooperation promotes our shared vision for a peaceful, inclusive, and resilient region of sovereign states," he added.
A similar agreement was also signed between Australia and India in 2020, allowing military ships and aircraft to refuel and access each other's military bases.
The embassy, however, did not provide details as to when the Canberra-Manila MLSA will take effect.
The Philippines has an existing pact with Australia, known as the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA) that entered into force in September 2012.
The SOVFA, which facilitates the entry of the two nations' visiting forces, was instrumental in 2013 during Operation Philippines Assist where Australia assisted the country in its response to Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan).
It facilitated the rapid deployment of medical assistance, humanitarian and reconstruction support involving over 500 service personnel, numerous aircraft and the landing ship heavy HMAS Tobruk. (PNA)