The enhanced security and defense cooperation between Japan and the Philippines could defuse tensions or potential conflicts in the West Philippine Sea, a political analyst said on Saturday, noting the country could also benefit from Japan’s expertise in humanitarian and disaster resilience management.
Speaking during a media forum, Dr. Froilan Calilung of the University of Santo Tomas’ Department of Political Science, said the good thing about the security and defense cooperation with Japan is that the Philippines can learn from Japan in terms of managing and handling disasters.
According to the UST professor, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida both agreeing on the need to attain a free and open Indo-Pacific is another good development.
“Because that will really create or defuse some tensions or potential conflicts away, of course from the very contentious issue of the West Philippine Sea,” Calilung said.
“And at the same time, siguro ang maganda nating makita rito is iyong commitment din talaga noong Japan na i-elevate iyong consciousness at iyong awareness ng buong mundo especially in upholding the 2016 arbitration ruling,” the political analyst pointed out.
These developments are in addition to the mutual defense agreements that may be signed by the two countries in the future, according to the Filipino political expert.
“So, this may send a very good message of course to countries like the US and even China, that security dimension is not actually being monopolized by the regional or the world super powers themselves. So, maganda iyong mga cooperative patterns na ito,” Dr. Calilung said.
The visit of the President, described by Calilung as the “globalization president,” will also entail economic, investment, health and tourism benefits for the Philippines.
“And I think this is very, very positive for the country. If I may give a title to our President, I would like to call him the ‘globalization president,’” Calilung said.
The President is worthy of such title because, Calilung said, the Philippine leader understands the dynamics of globalization, very knowledgeable on how bilateral and multilateral integration work, and very articulate regarding his ideas.
And alongside Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) and heavy investment in the country’s infrastructure development, the Philippines could entice more investors to come in, Prof. Calilung said, stressing infrastructure readiness is one of the key steps for investors to put their money in the country.