Friday, May 12, 2006

Aussie-RP: defense ties may snag in Philippine Senate

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a planned treaty between the Philippines and Australia is expected to hit a wall of opposition political concerns over sovereignty issues.

" Australia's hopes of forging a US-style security and anti-terror pact with the Philippines is raising concerns among Filipino opposition leaders. Warning that national interest was at stake, lawmakers demanded President Gloria Arroyo consult with the Philippine Senate before sealing any deal with Canberra. "Questions on why there is a need for such an agreement with Australia have to be answered first," Senate minority leader Aquilino Pimentel said. "

Australia has long sought to have more participation in the counter terrorism effort in the Southern part of the Philippines. While loose 'Defense ties' with the Philippines exist already and a long history of cooperation and trade is in place;

But Australia's proposal has an "image problem" with-in the Philippine Senate in particular the demand that Australian troops be given the same status of forces agreement as the USA- something expected to be the major problem with any prolonged "training deployments' for Aussie troops in the South.

Also continued resistance to trade imports and Philippine Agricultural products imports to Australia bans for export to Australia have also to be addressed as well.

The report quotes: Senate president Franklin Drilon, Who the report says

predicted some legislators would challenge the SOFA proposal, partly on the grounds of sovereignty concerns. "The yardstick is always our national interest when we are confronted in the Senate with treaties of this nature," he said.” the Herald reports

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