Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. stated that he would not use the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty concerning the military-grade laser fired by China at the Philippine Coast Guard in Ayungin Shoal on February 6.
During his speech at the alumni homecoming of the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio, Marcos said that it was not enough to use the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States, which would only further escalate the tensions in the area.
“If we activate that, what we are doing is escalating, intensifying the tensions in the area. And I think that would be counterproductive,” emphasized Marcos.
“Besides, despite the fact that it was a military-grade laser that was pointed at our coast guard, I do not think that that is sufficient for it to trigger the Mutual Defense Treaty,” added the President.
“We are in constant contact with our treaty partners, not only with the US but our ASEAN partners and other partners here in Asia.”
It is worth noting that the MDT was signed in 1951, which obliges Manila and Washington to help each other in the event that either country is under an armed attack.
Despite the incident, President Marcos opted not to invoke the MDT due to concerns that it might further escalate the already tense situation in the disputed South China Sea region. Instead, he chose to rely on diplomatic efforts and ongoing discussions with its treaty partners.