Philippine and United States soldiers are shown in this May 2018 photo during the annual joint military training exercises called Balikatan. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ KRIZJOHN ROSALES

A GLOBAL think tank and a former intelligence chief on Thursday said the Philippines should take a step back and avoid getting involved in conflicts between world superpowers. 

We are like ants that will be stepped on if two elephants fight, so I am advocating for non-alignment, for complete neutrality in the current happenings,said Victor N. Corpus, former chief of the Armed Forces of the PhilippinesIntelligence Service, referring to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the involvement of the United States as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 

Let us not involve ourselves in the wars of the giants, he said during the Pandesal Forum. 

Philippine BRICS Strategic Studies (Phil-BRICS) Director Adolfo Q. Paglinawan said in the same forum that the government should focus on economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.  

Economic recovery should be our urgent, highest priority right now, not war games,he said 

Phil-BRICS political analyst Anna Rosario Malindog-Uy brought up the Philippinesdecision to allow the US to use the countrys military facilities when necessary.  

This, she said, will make the Philippines a US’ defense outpost in times of conflict, dragging the country into the frame as a sacrificial lamb, a pawn or a cannon fodder for the US, serving a US military interest not the interest of the country.” 

She acknowledged that the Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the US may oblige it to open its facilitiesas an assembly area or jumping board for operationsshould a military conflict with China arise.  

I think the next administration should really review the Mutual Defense Treaty, weigh it against the economic aspects and the historical aspects of the matter and not just dependence on American protection,Mr. Paglinawan said. 

The Philippines-US MDT provides that both sides must help each other in case of any external aggression. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported on Thursday that another 19 Filipino seafarers affected by Russias invasion of Ukraine arrived on Wednesday. 

This brings the total number of repatriations to 329. Alyssa Nicole O. Tan 

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