US, PHL open to Mutual Defense Treaty review

The defense chiefs of the Philippines and the United States are both open to the need of reviewing the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the two countries.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, in a joint press briefing at the DND main building in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Tuesday, said the review is needed as the MDT was crafted and signed during the height of the Cold War, a completely different situation compared to now.

He added that he was the one who called for the review.

The Cold War refers to the period of geopolitical tension between the US and its allies and those of the then former Soviet Union and its satellite states.

It officially began in 1947 and ended in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The DND chief said the MDT review will be tackled in the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board which will be held sometime this year.

“I don’t know what will be the outcome, it will be a joint cooperative endeavor,” Lorenzana said.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Mark Esper welcomed the move to review the treaty.

“It is always good to look at these things from time to time, review and clarify and strengthen it based on changes in the environment and world situation,” the US official said.

Esper also highlighted the new US national security defense strategy requiring them to look at the world differently and to build different capabilities and reposition themselves.

“So I think for all those reasons, it could do so and I think the fact that we’re such strong and capable allies and we’ve such great friendship between our militaries and our peoples that this is something we could do together,” he added. PNA.GOV.PH