PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte and United States (US) Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin 3rd have agreed to bolster the two countries' alliance, particularly in fighting the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, illegal drugs and other transnational crimes, and promoting trade and investments.

The commitment was reached when Duterte met with Austin, who relayed the US intent to forge stronger ties with the Philippines as a "equal sovereign partner."

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