"We are determined and committed to supporting the defense of the Philippines."
-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
As tensions in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea have risen dramatically over the past few weeks, the US has dangled some shiny new (used) baubles to reassert its commitment to its puppet regime in Manila.
This past week, in response to repeated Chinese incursions into waters claimed by China, Vietnam, the Pilippines, Taiwan, and Malaysia, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario was summoned by his real handlers to come begging in Washington for new lease agreements on equipment to upgrade the Philippine military's largely outdated fleet of post-war hand-me-downs from its neo-colonial patron.
Del Rosario, with Mrs Clinton at his side, said: "While we are a small country, we are prepared to do what is necessary to stand up to any aggressive action in our backyard."
The Philippines has announced the deployment in disputed waters of its navy flagship, the Rajah Humabon. One of the world's oldest warships, the Rajah Humabon was a former US Navy frigate that served during World War II.
The Philippines has historically bought second-hand hardware, but del Rosario said that President Benigno Aquino has allocated 11 billion pesos (£157 million) to upgrade the navy.
Shortly ahead of his talks with Mrs Clinton, Mr del Rosario said that the Philippines was asking the United States for "an operational lease so that we can look at fairly new equipment and be able to get our hands on that quickly."
"We need to have the resources to be able to stand and defend ourselves and, I think, to the extent that we can do that, we become a stronger ally for you," he said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Philippines claims that over the past four months, there have been nine intrusions by Chinese warships in its territorial waters off Palawan.
Not only has the US puppet regime sent a WWII-era bucket to the area, but the two imperial bedfellows have also scheduled 11 days worth of naval excercises in the disputed waters as well. The excercises, dubbed Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), are scheduled to begin this coming week.
Lieutenant Noel Cadigal of the Philippine navy said two U.S. guided missile destroyers and a salvage ship would join four Philippine gunboats for gunnery, patrol and interdiction drills off the southern tip of Palawan island.
"We will also hold anti-piracy and anti-smuggling exercises and test the interoperability and readiness of the two navies in responding to various scenarios, such as security, disaster and humanitarian assistance," Cadigal said.
Sounds like the US Navy is going to train the Philippine Navy on how to ride shotgun along with US missile frigates as the world's largest exporter of democracy asserts itself into some neighborly drama between other, allegedly-sovereign nations.