THE commander of the United States Pacific Fleet affirmed the US Navy’s strong partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday following a four-day visit to Manila.
Admiral Scott Swift met with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Eduardo Año, and the Philippine Navy flag officer in command, Vice Admiral Ronald Mercado.
Swift stressed the US Pacific Fleet’s commitment to addressing “shared regional security concerns” including counterterrorism and piracy, while highlighting the strong defense ties between the US and the Philippines.
“The Philippine Navy is a valued and enduring ally of the US Navy and a close partner of the Pacific Fleet,” said Swift in a statement.
“I’m very pleased to have had the opportunity to visit with senior government and military leaders here in Manila. We continue to build on the strong relationship we have and to reaffirm our commitment to working together to face shared challenges,” he added.
The long-standing alliance between the Philippines and the United States has contributed to peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region for more than 70 years, the US Embassy said in a statement.
The US and the Philippines inked a Mutual Defense Treaty in 1951 and the Visiting Forces Agreement in 1998. Three years ago, the two countries signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement allowing the rotational presence of American troops in some military bases in the country.
As part of the security partnership, the United States supports the Philippines in its efforts to strengthen national defense, and improve its ability to respond to natural disasters, terror threats, piracy, and other transnational crimes.