The U.S. Gives $100 Million in Military Aid to the Philippines As It Attempts to Win It Back from China's Orbit
For the most part of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, the Philippines had been very warm to China—something that the U.S. paid very close attention to. After all, the Philippines is America’s oldest ally in Asia. The archipelago also conveniently encloses the eastern borders of the South China Sea—something the United States keeps a close eye on as it rallies its Pacific allies to encircle China, whose economic and military rise has troubled Washington.
In other words, the Philippines remains a very valuable strategic ally and partner for the United States. "America's commitment to the Philippines is deep and enduring," said U.S. Ambassador to Manila MaryKay Carlson when she arrived in the country in July.
To put its words into action, the U.S. is spending $100 million in military assistance to the Philippines. Right now, the Philippines is the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance in Southeast Asia. According to Reuters, it received $1.14 billion worth of military planes, arms, armored vehicles, and other hardware between 2015 to 2022.
To underscore Washington’s commitment to Manila, it sent the USS Ronald Reagan, one of its most powerful warships, to Manila Bay. Aboard the Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered supercarrier, American Ambassador Mary Kay Carlson announced the grant.
USS Ronald Reagan and Its Escorts
“The United States has now made available $100 million in foreign military financing in part for the Philippine military to use as it wishes,” Ambassador MaryKay Carlson told a media briefing aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, which was on a rare port call in Manila. The supercarrier was escorted by her carrier strike group composed of destroyers, submarines, logistics vessels, and amphibious assault ships.
To geopolitics observers, the grant is a “reward” for the Philippines for canceling a $230 million deal it made with Russia for the purchase of military helicopters.
In fact, Ambassador Carlson suggested the Philippines to use the allocation to “offset” its decision to scrap the helicopter deal with Russia. In an interview with the Associated Press (AP), former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana revealed on July 26 that he canceled the deal with Russia to acquire the Mi-17 helicopters. “We could face sanctions,” Lorenzana told the AP.
By “sanctions,” he means earning the ire of the United States.
Back in July, Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez cited the U.S. federal law called the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which provides sanctions for countries that enter into transactions with Russian defense or intelligence sectors, among other things.
Manila Cancels Its Biggest Military Deal with Russia for Fear of American Punishment
Russian Warship, Go F**k Yourself'