PHL and Spain sign accord on security of ‘classified’ info


The Philippines and Spain have signed an agreement aimed at protecting “classified” defense information as they agreed to cooperate on security and work in other areas of defense.

The agreement on the “Protection of Classified Information in the Field of Defense” was signed by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana with Spain’s National Intelligence Center, which followed his meeting two days prior with his Spanish counterpart Margarita Robles.

Lorenzana is on official visit to Spain where he is expected to also attend the International Defence Industry Exhibition where he could possibly scout for equipment for the ongoing modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

During his meeting with Robles, the defense secretary and his counterpart agreed to collaborate and even explore other areas in defense, and discussed matters of mutual concerns and even regional issues.

“The two ministers discussed matters of mutual interest, including the importance of strengthening partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, fostering multilateral cooperation, and jointly addressing the global issue of climate change,” said Department of National Defense spokesman Arsenio “Popong” Andolong.

“Both delegations reaffirmed their commitment to further enrich defense industry collaboration, increase exchange of students, and explore other areas of defense cooperation,” Andolong added.

Andolong said Lorenzana also welcomed the growing defense relations between the Philippines and European countries, including Spain.

Back at Whitsun Reef

Meanwhile, Lorenzana said they would check reports that Chinese fishing vessels have returned to the Whitsun Reef within the country’s maritime waters.

More than 200 Chinese maritime militia vessels have gathered and occupied the reef in March this year before they dispersed and redeployed in other areas of the Kalayaan Island Group and West Philippine Sea following a protest from the Philippines.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), citing satellite images, said that the number of vessels near the reef has been rising over the past three months.

“These numbers include Vietnamese Coast Guard and fishing boats, but the vast majority are Chinese fishing vessels 50 meters more or less in length,” the AMTI said.

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