Press Releases

Salceda appeals to US: More trade, investments in defense sector

December 1st, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) appealed to officials of the United States that “a strong way forward for our special relationship is more trade between our countries and a strong Philippine defense industry with US investments.”

During a meeting with US Embassy officials, particularly Ms. Samantha Parkes and Mr. John Avrett of the Political and Economic Sections respectively, Salceda emphasized that the country “needs a strong local defense industry in order to protect its territorial and regional interests without having to invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty.”

“Right now, we have no choice but to invoke the MDT between the US and the country, when we are confronted with a serious breach of our territory. That is dangerous for the world, because wars between superpowers are always bad for all concerned,” Salceda said in subsequent statements.

“A strong local defense sector is critical to ensuring our strategic sovereignty. We don’t need to drag others into our own conflicts. It also ensures some degree of deterrence.”

Salceda has earlier made manifestations in support of developing the country’s weapons manufacturing and defense production sector. 

“Consider producing weapons in the Philippines. They already produce chips here. As a strategic treaty partner, we would be well within our rights to allow the US defense industry to locate here.”

Salceda says the approach “might even be better than increasing the number of US bases here under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, since it protects the country’s integrity without hosting foreign troops.”

Military aid welcome

Salceda also says that military support for the Philippines, particularly for high-technology defense weapons, is “most welcome.”

In particular, Salceda says he has been closely following US weapons being used in Ukraine, and observes that “asymmetric warfare is now the name of the game, and that’s good for small countries like us.”

“Drones and mobile artillery systems are proving to be very useful defensive weapons. The strongest artillery system now in use in Ukraine, the HIMARS, can protect as much as 60 percent of the country’s exclusive economic zone, without having to leave Philippine sovereign territory.”

“Nobody would argue that the Philippines has the right to establish a security blanket from within its sovereign territory. But highly mobile artillery allows us to defend our coasts and shores.”

Salceda adds that “the deterrent factor is that we are not encroaching upon anybody else’s land, but once someone intrudes into our EEZ, they would know that they are within reach of our weapons systems.”

“We no longer have to be a military power to defend ourselves. Strong defense technology has tilted conflicts in favor of the defender.”

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