THE United States on Wednesday, November 25, reaffirmed its steadfast military partnership with the Philippines during the visit of U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett in Manila.
Barrett was welcomed by Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) Undersecretary Cardozo Luna and senior Philippine military officials.
She also met by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, General Gilbert Gapay as well as Philippine Air Force Commander, Lt. General Allen Paredes.
She underscored the strong ties between the Philippines and the U.S., noting the importance of the countries’ alliance to national and regional security.
“From joint counterterrorism efforts to humanitarian support, the U.S. and Philippines have a long history of working together to protect global security through regional stability,” Barrett said.
“The U.S. Air and Space Forces look forward to building on our strong relationship with the Philippine military through greater interoperability and training opportunities with the Philippine Air Force, as well as exploring where our nations can cooperate in the space domain,” she added.
During her visit, she discussed opportunities for greater bilateral security cooperation as well as highlighted U.S.’ assistance to the Philippines’ COVID-19 response and disaster relief efforts.
Luna, for his part, welcomed Barrett’s visit.
“We look forward to working with our U.S. counterparts in pursuit of our common goals and interests,” he said.
Barrett’s visit follows U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien’s trip to Manila wherein he led the ceremonial turnover of $18 million worth of precision guided munitions and other weapons system for use by the military to counter terrorism.
O’Brien on Monday reiterated that the U.S. will continue to support the Philippines’ claim in the West Philippine Sea.
“Our message is we’re going to be here, we’ve got your back, and we’re not leaving,” he said.