(PN file photo)

The military has ramped up security measures in all military camps and installations in the country, a move seen as demonstrating its commitment to the Philippines-U.S. security cooperation accord called General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Monday in a press statement that GSOMIA is “aimed at fortifying bilateral relations and enhancing overall security capabilities.”

GSOMIA’s primary objective, the military explained is to guard confidential data and crucial infrastructure located within military installations. Facilitating the exchange of sensitive military information and intelligence, GSOMIA is important for enhancing the counterterrorism, maritime security, and disaster response capabilities of both countries.

“The heightened security protocols are designed to safeguard classified information and critical infrastructure, ensuring that all military assets are well-protected against potential threats. These measures include advanced surveillance systems, increased personnel training, and stricter access controls to sensitive areas,” the AFP said.

The new interest in achieving a military information agreement before the end of 2024 occurred in Washington, D.C., following the 11th Philippines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in April between President Joe Biden, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and their administration officials and representatives.

Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez said in a press briefing with Philippine journalists attending the Friends, Partners, and Allies Program that GSOMIA was part of what was discussed during the bilateral dialogue when asked.

“I think they’re hoping to be able to finish that before the end of the year. Yes, that’s very important. They’re working overtime just to be able to get that going because that’s an important part of our defense strategy,” he said.

The ambassador to the U.S. said one of the challenges that hampers GSOMIA’s achievement is that the Philippines “have some things that we don’t have that we need to be able to put together.”

The military said that looking ahead, it intends to maintain commitment to advancing security capabilities by investing in state-of-the-art technologies and training programs.

It will engage in joint efforts with the U.S. military through joint exercises and knowledge-sharing initiatives to ensure both nations are prepared to address evolving security threats.