News / Asia

US Typhoon Response Improves Military Ties with Manila

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario (L) walks with U.S. Representative Chris Smith upon arrival at the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Pasay city, metro Manila, Nov. 25, 2013.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario (L) walks with U.S. Representative Chris Smith upon arrival at the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Pasay city, metro Manila, Nov. 25, 2013.
Simone Orendain
— Philippines officials say the challenges of mounting the relief effort for Typhoon Haiyan show the urgency of signing a long-term agreement on an increased U.S. troop presence in the country. Typhoon Haiyan struck as the United States and the Philippines were negotiating a plan for more regular U.S. troop rotations to the country.

The negotiators have been meeting for months, but Philippine representatives have said they still need time to study some issues.

On Monday, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario made a pitch for finalizing the agreement at a briefing with a U.S. Congressional delegation in Manila.

“I think this [disaster] demonstrates the need for this framework agreement that we’re working out with the United States… because it accentuates one of the main purposes of the framework, which is to make humanitarian and disaster relief and response a major aspect of the agreement,” said del Rosario.

Haiyan crippled the central provinces’ infrastructure when its powerful winds knocked out electricity and downed communications towers. It wiped out most of the houses in villages and municipalities and left a tangled mess of trees and debris clogging roads for days.

The devastation hampered the aid effort and handicapped the Philippines military's ability to respond. The U.S. sent some 50 ships and aircraft to the region for a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operation. U.S. forces also helped work out logistics for the Philippines' own response.

Relief operations in the Philippines

  • Typhoon survivors board a Philippine Air Force transport plane in Tacloban, Nov. 21, 2013.
  • A Philippine man carries aid from a U.S. Navy Seahawk helicopter in Palo, Philippines, Nov. 20, 2013.
  • U.S. sailors and Marines load supplies onto a helicopter to be delivered in Eastern Sumar Province, Philippines, Nov. 20, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • U.S. military personnel carry supplies to be distributed in Eastern Sumar Province, Philippines, Nov. 20, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • U.S. sailors work with Philippine armed forces members to transport relief supplies in Ormoc City, Philippines, Nov. 18, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • A member of the U.S. Navy hugs a child during a visit to Philippine Army base Camp Downes in support of Operation Damayan, Nov. 18, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • A Seahawk helicopter transports international relief supplies in support of Operation Damayan, Ormoc City, Philippines, Nov. 17, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • U.S. sailors and Marines work with Philippine civilians to unload relief supplies in Guiuan, Philippines, Nov. 17, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • Villagers scramble for aid from a U.S. Navy helicopter in the coastal town of Tanawan, Philippines, Nov. 17. 2013.
  • A soldier carries a baby to board a U.S. military transport plane at the damaged Tacloban airport, Tacloban city, Philippines, Nov. 17, 2013.
  • A U.S. hospital corpsman assists Philippine nurses in treating a patient's head wound at the Immaculate Conception School refugee camp, Guiuan, Philippines, Nov. 17, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • Philippine citizens board an U.S. HC-130 Hercules to be airlifted to safety in support of Operation Damayan, Guiuan, Nov. 17, 2013. (U.S. Navy)

Closer partnership

Arizona Congressman Trent Franks told reporters in Manila the U.S. is committed to solidifying the mutual defense partnership.

“I think it’s vitally important for us to stick together and take every opportunity we have, including this one, to try to bring our military efforts close together,” he said.

Carl Baker, program director at the Pacific Forum of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, says the Haiyan relief operation will influence negotiations between the two countries, but it should not be a determining factor for the agreement.

“I think it would be a mistake for the United States to go into those [negotiations] thinking that now it has additional leverage to convince the Philippines to accept terms that it wasn’t prepared to accept,” he said.

Philippine Aid Donors Factbox

Many countries and organizations are providing humanitarian aid to the Philippines in the wake of Friday's typhoon. The most prominent donors include:

  • UNITED NATIONS: $25 million released from U.N. emergency relief fund, appealing for more
  • UNITED STATES: $20 million in aid, plus military assistance
  • EU: $17 million
  • BRITAIN: $16 million, plus military assistance
  • JAPAN: $10 million, and an emergency medical relief team
  • UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: $10 million
  • AUSTRALIA: $9.3 million, including medical personnel
  • SOUTH KOREA: $5 million, plus a disaster relief team
  • CANADA: up to $5 million
  • U.N. WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: $2 million
  • NEW ZEALAND: $1.7 million
  • U.N. CHILDREN'S FUND (UNICEF): $1.3 million worth of supplies
  • HSBC (global banking group): $1 million
  • SAMSUNG (South Korean technology company): $1 million
  • TAIWAN: $200,000
  • VATICAN: $150,000 in initial assistance
  • CHINA: $100,000
  • CHINA RED CROSS: $100,000
The Philippines, which has one of the smallest military budgets in the region, wants the increased U.S. troop presence to complement its military expansion plans. It is particularly concerned with a contentious territorial dispute with China over islets in the resource-rich South China Sea. At the same time, the U.S. is shifting its security and economic focus to Asia, where China’s influence continues to grow.

Philippines Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista says the U.S. disaster response has helped strengthen the Philippine military.

“Among the other crisis we’ve faced in the past and also this one, they have always been with us, demonstrated their willingness and their capability to assist us in any problem that we face,” he said.

The China factor

Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Fellow Ian Storey says the U.S. typhoon response has helped the two countries get closer to their objectives.

“The United States doesn’t want to say ‘We want to increase our military presence in the Philippines because of China.’ They will use other reasons as well, like a HADR as one of the widely important factors that they will use to strengthen their case,” he said.

Last week, China offered its 14,000 ton floating military hospital, called the Peace Ark toward Haiyan relief efforts. Storey says this is a significant move because it would be the Peace Ark’s first humanitarian response operation.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ed from: nj
December 05, 2013 9:22 AM
And Clark AFB?


by: ed mays from: brick nj
November 25, 2013 8:12 PM
Gee, wasn`t it just awhile ago the Philippines kicked us out of Clark air Force Base...sure was. Now it`s a different story from them. And a short memory of our dead and wounded fighting for them in WWII against the ravaging and raping Japanese.

In Response

by: bb from: los angeles
December 05, 2013 2:15 AM
Woah fella, hold it there, you need to read history, the Philippines & the US fought side by side during the war. the Philippines was a colony/commonwealth when the war broke out, it wasn't just the US that got killed or wounded, when the US troops came back home after the war the filipino troops even the civilians were still fighting the enemies they died for them(US) too. In case you don't know, Pearl Harbor was bombed because Japanese knew US were based there, after they bombed Pearl Harbor they bombed the US bases in the Philippines because the Japanese knew they were also there. The filipino soldiers were part of the United States Armed forces with Gen. MacArthur as their leader & who established it before the war so it's a two-way street. In case you don't know this, the two countries have a Mutual Defense Treaty.

In Response

by: Keen from: Philippines
November 26, 2013 9:31 AM
Ed Mays of NJ, with due respect, Philippines and the whole Filipino community won't forget our HISTORY; we just forget the HATRED...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid