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Military


U.S.-Philippine Relations
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo - 2001-2010

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo met with President Bush in an official working visit in November 2001, made a state visit in Washington on May 19, 2003, and returned for additional visits on June 24, 2008, July 30, 2009, and April 12, 2010 for the Nuclear Security Summit. President Bush made a state visit to the Philippines on October 18, 2003, during which he addressed a joint session of the Philippine Congress--the first American President to do so since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Annual bilateral military exercises contribute directly to the Philippine armed forces' efforts to increase maritime domain awareness, combat the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah groups, and bring development and relief to conflict- and disaster-affected areas. The exercises include not only combined military training but also civil-military affairs and humanitarian projects. The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program is the largest in the Pacific and the third-largest in the world, and a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) was signed in November 2002. In law enforcement, US and Philippine agencies have cooperated to bring charges against numerous terrorists, to implement the countries' extradition treaty, and to train thousands of Filipino law enforcement officers. A US Resident Legal Advisor also provides training to Philippine prosecutors.

In 2003 the United States designated the Philippines as a major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally. The Philippines maintains strong ties to the United States. Although the United States mildly rebuked the Philippines for yielding to insurgent demands in Iraq to withdraw its small contingent, the United States continued to view the Philippines as an important ally in the war on terrorism, particularly in view of various Islamic insurgencies on the islands of Mindanao and Jolo.

In May 2004 the Philippines signed an agreement with the United States exempting US military personnel in the Philippines from prosecution before the International Criminal Court. Total US military assistance to the Philippines rose from US$38 million in 2001 to US$114 million in 2003 and a projected US$164 million in 2005, which would make the Philippines the fourth largest recipient of US foreign military assistance. Australia reportedly also a major source of military assistance.

The US Congress has placed conditions upon a portion of US military assistance to the Philippines in order to pressure the Philippine government to hold the perpetrators of extrajudicial executions [EJEs] and political violence accountable. In fiscal years 2008 and 2009, $2 million of some $30 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) authorized for the Philippines was withheld because conditions were not satisfied.

In 2010, the penalty was raised to $3 million. The conference report (H.Rept. 112-331, Section 7044(g)) that accompanied H.R. 2055, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (signed into law as P.L. 112-74), extended the conditions for another year, stating, Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading Foreign Military Financing Program that are available for assistance for the Philippines, $3,000,000 may not be obligated until the Secretary of State submits to the Committees on Appropriations the report on the Philippines required under such heading in S.Rept. 112-85." The Secretary of State was required to report that: "

  • the Government of the Philippines is taking effective steps to prosecute those responsible for EJEs, sustain the decline in the number of EJEs, and strengthen government institutions working to eliminate EJEs;
  • the Government of the Philippines is implementing a policy of promoting military personnel who demonstrate professionalism and respect for human rights, and is investigating, prosecuting, and punishing military personnel and others who have been credibly alleged to have violated such rights; and
  • the Philippine military, and militias and paramilitary groups under its control, are not engaging in acts of violence or intimidation against journalists or members of legal organizations who advocate for human rights. "



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