Under the Lead Inspector General framework, the Inspectors General for the Department of Defense, Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development conduct oversight of and report on the overseas contingency operation "Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines" (OPE-P).
This quarter, the Philippine government initiated the process of withdrawing from the bilateral Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States effective August 9, 2020. This agreement facilitates the entry of U.S. military personnel and material into the Philippines. According to senior DoD officials, termination of the agreement would complicate future military cooperation between the two countries, including OPE-P. As discussed in this report, it is unclear if the agreement will ultimately be terminated and how the termination would affect OPE-P.
The Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development reported that they provided assistance to the Philippine government this quarter, both to support the COVID-19 response and to assist the 70,000 residents of the city of Marawi who have been displaced since the 2017 siege by ISIS affiliates. This quarter, the Philippine government closed the last remaining tent camps for former Marawi residents, who have since been moved to temporary shelters.
USAID OIG also reported on U.S. Government commitments to support the Philippine Department of Health in its response to the COVID-19 outbreak. USAID stated that it planned to collaborate with the Philippine government to establish and implement infectious disease prevention and response strategies. Additionally, USAID reported that it planned to facilitate COVID-19 testing by supporting specimen transportation and laboratory capacity. USAID reported that it also planned to assist with the delivery and management of medical supplies, including personal protective equipment. USAID added that U.S. Government-supported programs in the Philippines were also intended to expand disease preparedness and access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services and commodities. On March 31, the DoS reported that the total amount of U.S. Government health assistance in response to the outbreak in the Philippines had increased to nearly $4 million.