Philippines Defence & Security Report Q2 2014: New research report available at Fast Market Research

New Defense research report from Business Monitor International is now available from Fast Market Research

[USPRwire, Mon Apr 28 2014] The controversy over China's declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea continues to rumble on, amid concerns that China is looking to establish a similar ADIZ in the South China Sea. With the Philippines currently engaged in territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea over the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal, such a move would no doubt have serious repercussions on the Philippines' security situation.

In response to this growing security threat, the Philippines has attempted to bring its territorial disputes with China to the UN arbitration tribunal. However, Beijing has refused to be part of any territorial negotiations. It is likely that the Philippines will look to synergise its efforts to deal with an aggressive China with ASEAN partners who share similar concerns over China's territorial assertiveness. A growing China threat would likely deepen the already close alliance the Philippines shares with the US.

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Indeed, in Q114 the US Pacific Fleet Commander, Admiral Harry Harris, visited Manila in a bid to finalise an agreement that would see an expanded US military presence in the Philippines. This follows a recent statement by US Chief of Naval operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, who reiterated that the US would honour its mutual defence treaty with the Philippines. Given the Philippines relatively weak military, especially vis-a-vis neighbouring countries, BMI expects Manila to make the most out of its good relations with the US as well as ASEAN members when dealing with Beijing. These alliances are especially important given that the government is directing a substantial degree of its defence resources towards addressing domestic security problems.

During Q114 fighting escalated between the Philippine army and the Bangasmoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao province. At least 40 BIFF fighters were left dead, while some 10,000 civilians were forced to flee their homes. BIFF broke away from the larger Moro Islamic Liberation front (MILF) in 2008 and opposes the peace talks taking place between MILF and the government. Negotiations between MILF and the government made substantial progress in Q114, with both sides signing the Normalisation Annex, which will see the decommissioning of MILF combatants and the redepoloyment of Philippine security forces. This annex is seen as the last remaining hurdle before the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement.

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