Japan-Philippines pact a ‘positive step,’ says Senator Alan

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday hailed the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) between Japan and the Philippines as a “positive step” for military cooperation.

At the same time, he also highlighted the potential challenges of the complex agreement.

“It’s good to have allies,” Cayetano said in a media interview on July 8, 2024. “But the question is saan mo gagamitin ang cooperation na ‘yan, because you don’t want there to be more problems than solutions.”

The RAA marks Japan’s first defense pact forged in Asia, allowing both countries’ military troops to enter each other’s territory for joint military exercises.

The new defense pact also aims to strengthen regional ties amidst escalating tensions over China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea.

Cayetano commended Japan for its increasing cooperation beyond the military sphere and expressed openness to additional forms of support.

“If the Japanese can help us bring more tourists for more jobs [for Filipinos], those are forms of help na wala na sa agreement,” he said.

Cayetano told reporters the Senate will do what it can to ratify the pact, echoing Senate President Pro Tempore and National Defense and Security chair Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada who said he will see to it that the ratification of the RAA will be among the priority agenda of the Senate when it opens the third Regular Session later this month.

“Kailangan natin tingnan at himayin kasi there’s going to be a little bit of controversy,” Cayetano said. “(But) in a sense, we need all the help we can get.”


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