Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The UP Asian Center will be hosting the roundtable discussion, “Precarious Times? EDCA, Peace and Stability in the Philippines and Beyond” on 11 April 2023, 2:00 PM, PHT (GMT+8),  via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public but signing in to a (free) Zoom account is required. 


More than 20 years since the non-renewal of the US Military Bases Agreement, representatives of the Philippine and United States governments signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in 2014 with the aim of making the alliance between the two countries “stronger” and “more resilient” (US Department of Defense 2023). Through the agreement, US military forces are granted access “to public land and facilities … including those owned by local governments and to other land and facilities” (EDCA, 4). Unless either party initiates steps towards its termination before 27 April 2023, the agreement will “automatically” continue to take effect (EDCA, 10). There have been reasonable concerns, however, over the use of areas and facilities because of intermittent tensions in the Taiwan Strait. The presence of US military personnel and equipment in the Philippines may pose a significant threat to the country in the event of US involvement in the tensions. The possible embroilment of other nuclear-weapon states may have dire consequences for the country, the region, and the world at large. This webinar seeks to address the national and regional issues arising from EDCA, including its connections to brewing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and to the possibility of the entanglement of the Philippines in a full-scale war.


Dr. Melissa Hubahib Loja is the author of the book, International Agreements between Non-state Actors as a Source of International Law (Hart Bloomsbury, 2022). She also authored various peer-reviewed articles in top international law journals, such as the American Society of International Law Proceedings (Cambridge University Press), European Journal of International Law (Oxford University Press), International Journal of Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press), Leiden Journal of International Law (Cambridge University Press), Ocean Development and International Law (Routledge), and the Journal of the History of International Law (Brill Nijhoff). She earned her LLM and Ph.D. with honors from the University of Hong Kong and completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National University of Singapore. She won the Willoughby Prize for best research article published in the Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law (Taylor & Francis) and the Li Ka Shing Prize for best Ph.D. Thesis. View her full profile.
Dr. Chester B. Cabalza is the Founder and President of the Manila-based think tank International Development and Security Cooperation (IDSC) and teaches in the graduate school at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. He previously held the position of Vice President for the Center of Research and Strategic Studies and the Executive Fellow at the Development Academy of the Philippines. He was formerly a Consultant of the World Bank and the Japan International and Cooperation Agency. He also lectures for and advises theses of senior military officers at the National Defense College of the Philippines and the Command and General Staff College. A Fellow of the College of Defense Studies at the National Defense University in Beijing, and the US State Department under the stewardship of the University of Delaware. He has published in peer-reviewed journals in the purview of security studies and recently co-authored The Rise of Philippinedization: Philippinedization is not Finlandization. Dr. Cabalza won the IFSSO international prize for the Social Science Award and he is regularly interviewed by local and foreign media on the South China Sea, regional terrorism, and related international political economy issues. View his full profile.
Herman “Ka Mentong” Tiu Laurel is a broadcast journalist who tackles issues related to China and the Philippines. He is also a former columnist of the Daily Tribune and OpinYon. He currently hosts the radio and live stream program Global Talk News Radio for Radyo Pilipinas 1. Ka Mentong is known for his “fair and accurate reporting”1 on Philippine-China issues and relations. View his profile.
Dr. Henry Chan is currently a visiting senior fellow at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace. His research interests include Asia economic development, ASEAN-China economic cooperation, digital transformation, the fourth industrial revolution, and economic development, climate change and sustainable development, and monetary economics.


Edcel John A. Ibarra is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines Diliman. He obtained his Master's degree in International Studies from the same university in 2022. Asst. Prof. Ibarra has written policy inputs, general audience articles, and academic articles on Philippine territorial and maritime concerns, including South China Sea disputes.  View his full profile.


For inquiries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 8 981 8500 local 3580.
The UP Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. The Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website. For other news and upcoming events at the Asian Center, click here.