MANILA - Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano praised the signing of a multilateral air encounter code by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
According to Alejano, the new agreement will help instill peace within the region.
"The pact will establish peace and security in the ASEAN region as it includes an agreement on sharing information regarding terrorism threats. This could also improve the system for unexpected air encounters among aircrafts from different nations especially with the increasing air and maritime traffic in the region,” he said.
Alejano, however, doubted the agreement's power on tensions in disputed territories in the region.
"In the context of the West Philippine Sea dispute, we hope the pact will address territorial aggression. China, one of the ASEAN partners, does not even honor the existing international guidelines and rulings. While we can expect ASEAN states to abide, it might be a different story for China," he said.
Alejano noted ASEAN has adopted a similar code with its international partners, including China, but this did not stop China's developments in disputed waters.
"Just last year, ASEAN with its international partners such as China adopted a similar code relating to sea encounters. Despite this, China’s aggression in our waters continued,” he said.
Southeast Asian countries agreed on Friday to guidelines to manage unexpected encounters between their military aircraft, with host Singapore calling the pact a world first and saying they would encourage their international partners to join.
The agreement, signed by defense ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a conference in Singapore, includes a region-wide pact on the exchange of information on terrorism threats.
The voluntary, non-binding guidelines on air encounters build on an existing code to manage sea encounters adopted last year by ASEAN and its "plus" partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the United States.