DFA admits 'sense of urgency' in PH-US talks

Posted at Aug 16 2013 11:35 AM | Updated as of Aug 16 2013 07:35 PM

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MANILA - Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Carlos Sorreta admitted Friday there is a “sense of urgency” in the ongoing negotiations to increase the presence of US rotational troops in the Philippines.

“There is a sense of urgency in getting this agreement through…There are things that we need quite urgently that they can help. For example, building our capacities for being aware of developments in the region, watching movements, projecting movements in our part of the world including the West Philippine Sea…It’s all that and more,” he said in an ANC interview.

“Right now we desperately need this kind of awareness in this part of the world,” he added.

The DFA official said the Philippine government is committed to building up its defensive capabilities, with or without the Americans. He said Congress is already earmarking P75 billion for the AFP's modernization budget for the next 5 years.

However, he also noted that working with allies would allow the Philippines to multiply the effect of resources by training soldiers on how to use more modern military equipment.

He said the Department of National Defense is looking to purchase more long-range aircraft and defensive aircraft as well as more ships.

[email protected], August 16, 2013