Stronger RP-US Defense Relations Cited by Romulo

Article excerpt

Secretary Alberto Romulo of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) foresees stronger ties between the Philippines and the United States in 2005 as both countries have agreed to enhance security and defense cooperation.

In the DFAs year-end report, the secretary informed President Arroyo that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will receive 30 aircraft plus unutilized spare parts next year under the US Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program.

The DFA also said that through the efforts of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, the US Senate enacted an appropriations mark-up of US$35 million in 2005 for assistance to the counter-terrorism programs of the Philippine military and law enforcement agencies.

"This is over and above the regular assistance programs," the report said.

The Philippines was among the 12 countries which were identified as eligible to apply for the Threshold Program funding for fiscal year 2005 under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) of the United States government.

Threshold countries are those that do not qualify for MCA assistance but have demonstrated a commitment to meeting the requirements in the future.

The assistance, which will be provided by the USAID in connection with the Threshold Program, will not supplant the development assistance directly provided by the USAID.

The Millenium Challenge Corp. (MCC) and other US government agencies are committed to work with the Philippine government in implementing the Threshold Program for the country for the coming fiscal year. …