EDCA deterred sea disputes—Gazmin

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BEIJING stopped harassing Filipino ships in disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea after the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between Manila and Washington, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin claimed before a Senate committee on Monday.

Gazmin made the claim even as Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago argued that the failure of the Aquino administration to submit the EDCA to the Senate for ratification diminishes its legislative power, although she admitted that President Benigno Aquino III cannot be forced to submit the agreement for ratification.

Gazmin, during his testimony, said the EDCA served as “a deterrent” against external security threats, such as those presented by China.

“Right now, we use EDCA as a deterrent to threats to our security. As we continue using the EDCA, we continue to fill the gap [of our Armed Forces] through our modernization program,” Gazmin said during the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on the EDCA.

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. questioned the deterrence factor since the agreements the Philippines have with the United States do not really guarantee US assistance if the country  is dragged into a war with another country.

“Why will an aggressive power be afraid to attack us?” Marcos said, but Gazmin insisted that the deterrence effect has already emerged in recent events.

“The deterrence is already happening,” Gazmin said. “As you see, we are no longer being attacked when we resupply our troops at Ayungin Shoal.”

 

Read more: http://manilastandardtoday.com/2014/12/02/edca-deterred-sea-disputes-gazmin/

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