THE Philippines has received an additional P1.4 billion ($29.3 million) worth of military equipment from the United States, demonstrating the longstanding and steadfast U.S. military commitment to the Philippines.
Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller on Tuesday, December 8, met with Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr., announcing the recent transfer of the defense articles, including sniper and anti-IED equipment, to senior Philippine military officials.
The turnover of the defense equipment will support the modernization goals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The new equipment will strengthen the AFP’s joint precision strike, sniper, riverine, and counter-improvised explosive device capabilities.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to visit the Philippines, the United States’ oldest treaty ally in Asia. It was an honor to meet with Secretary Lorenzana and Secretary Loscin to discuss deepening our alliance and supporting a free and open South China Sea and Indo-Pacific region,” Miller said.
During the meeting, Miller stressed the importance of the U.S.-Philippine alliance to national and regional security, and discussed opportunities for greater bilateral security cooperation to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
He likewise highlighted the more than P1.1 billion ($23.4 million) in U.S. COVID-19 assistance and disaster relief for recent typhoon victims, as well as ongoing U.S. support for Philippine counterterrorism and maritime security efforts.
“We are grateful for the support provided by the United States as we continuously work on the enhancement of the Philippines’ defense capabilities,” said Lorenzana.
“The modernization of the AFP will ultimately allow us to respond more effectively to both traditional and non-traditional security threats to our maritime nation. Our government expresses our deep appreciation for the US government’s assistance in protecting our borders from external threats,” he added.
Miller’s visit followed the November 25 visit of U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, as well as U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien’s November 22-23 visit, during which he announced P868 million ($18 million) in supplementary military equipment and training for the AFP.
“The Philippines is by far the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region,” noted the U.S. Embassy in Manila.
“Since 2015, the United States has delivered more than P33 billion ($650 million) worth of planes, ships, armored vehicles, small arms, and other military equipment to the Philippines, while training side-by-side with our Filipino allies,” it added. (Ritchel Mendiola/AJPress)