MANILA – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday said the finalized Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement (MLSA) between the Philippines and Australia will greatly help militaries of both nations in responding to disasters.
"MLSA will, likewise, facilitate rapid deployment of both forces for purposes of humanitarian assistance and disaster response. It is intended to enhance the interoperability between the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and ADF (Australian Defence Force) which regularly conducts exercises under the PH-Australia Defense Cooperation and the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA)," Lorenzana said in a statement.
Lorenzana added that the accord will allow the provision of logistics support during exercises, training, deployment, and other exigencies as mutually determined by both countries.
The MLSA between the Philippines and Australia was signed by the Philippines on Feb. 18 this year and by Australia on April 23.
The signatories are Rear Adm. Alberto Carlos for the Philippines, in his capacity as AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, and his counterpart, Rear Adm. Ian Murray of the Australian Defence Force.
The MLSA will be endorsed by the Department of National Defense to the Department of Foreign Affairs, which will then will transmit it to the Office of the President for ratification of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Philippines has a SOVFA with Australia that entered into force in September 2012.
The SOVFA, which facilitates the entry of the two nations' visiting forces, was instrumental in 2013 during Operation Philippines Assist where Australia assisted the country in its response to Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
It facilitated the rapid deployment of medical assistance, humanitarian and reconstruction support involving over 500 service personnel, numerous aircraft, and the landing ship HMAS Tobruk. (PNA)