The book “Forging Partnerships: Philippine Defense Cooperation under Constitutional and International Laws,” written by Hon. J. Eduardo Malaya and Ms. Ma. Antonina M. Mendoza-Oblena, was launched during the Foreign Service Institute’s Mabini Dialogue on 24 August 2017 at the Carlos P. Romulo Library.
Ms. Mendoza-Oblena provided the book’s chapter summaries. The first chapter reviews the provisions in the Philippine Constitution with reference to national defense and security. In the second chapter, the authors tackled how the Philippines conducts defense cooperation and engagements with other countries. The third chapter examines individual and collective self-defense. Chapter 4 discusses the mechanisms employed by partner-countries in setting up comprehensive security arrangements, such as status of forces agreements (SOFAs) and access agreements, under international law and practice. The final chapter provides excerpts and texts of some of the important defense cooperation agreements of the Philippines with partners and allies.
Amb. Malaya shared his experience in writing the book. He said that the book was written at a time when strengthening traditional partnership with the US was paramount to the Aquino administration. He stressed that if and when the country decides to work with its allies and partners, there are ample legal bases and precedents for doing so in the Constitution, international law, and customary international law. “Given the heightened challenges to our country’s security as exemplified by the ongoing conflict in Marawi, there is a need to give wider berth to the enhancement of our armed forces capabilities. Alongside the AFP modernization program and institutional reforms should be measures to enable our armed forces to deepen traditional alliances and forge meaningful partnerships with other friends,” Malaya said.
During the writing of the book, Amb. Malaya served as Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia, while Ms. Mendoza-Oblena served as Minister and Consul General to Malaysia. Presently, Amb. Malaya is the Assistant Secretary of the DFA-Office of Legal Affairs, and Ms. Oblena is the Special Assistant at the DFA-Office of the Undersecretary for Policy. Copies of the book were given to distinguished guests: FSI Director-General Claro S. Cristobal, Undersecretary Emmanuel Bautista of the Office of the President, Undersecretary Pedro Cesar C. Ramboanga Jr. of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement, Undersecretary Gen. Ricardo A. David, Jr. of the Department of National Defense (DND), and former DND Undersecretary Atty. Pio Lorenzo Batino.