Assistant Secretary Kurt M. Campbell Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs today said U.S. efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Philippine alliance are part of a broader strategy by the Obama Administration to increase American strategic engagement and focus in the Asia-Pacific region.
In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, Mr. Campbell said the U.S. government is pursuing to strengthen and deepen their partnership and alliance with the Philippines in line with their strategic goals.
Two countries’ mutual defense treaty has provided for their common defense and helped to create cooperation between their countries, not only military cooperation but also political and economic, and not only between governments but most importantly between their people.
Mr. Campbell cites that Philippine President Aquino and his administration entered office committed to strengthening their partnership with the United States.
“The United States’ and the Philippines’ abiding friendship has been forged by a history of shared sacrifice and common purpose.” -Mr. Campbell
He notes that US-Philippines relationship is enriched by the presence in the United States of over four million Filipinos and Filipino Americans and in the Philippines by over 150,000 Americans, who help shape the future of both countries.
He reports that in November 2011, Secretary Clinton stood side-by-side with her Philippine counterpart Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario aboard the USS “Fitzgerald” in Manila Bay to sign the joint Manila Declaration, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.
He stresses that both leaders reaffirmed that the treaty remains the foundation of the bilateral relationship. The Manila Declaration also sets forth a shared vision for strategic, political, economic, and people-to-people cooperation between two nations.
“At this time seventy years ago, our soldiers were fighting valiantly together in the defense of our last strongholds at Corregidor and Bataan. We joined forces again on the beaches of Leyte in October 1944 to begin the liberation of the Philippines.” -Mr. Campbell
He says both countries are also committed in their determination to promote economic cooperation, advance people-to-people ties, and combat corruption.
He underlines US_Philippines partnership is today committed to sustaining global and regional peace, security, and prosperity.
“We are constantly looking to enhance our security relationship to better address the range of regional security challenges that are of interest to both our governments.” -Mr. Campbell
Both countries are committed to continuing their close and effective cooperation to counter al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups in the southern Philippines through our Joint Special Operations Task Force.
The United States and the Philippines also cooperate closely in the region’s multilateral fora, including the ASEAN Regional Forum, East Asia Summit (EAS), and APEC.
Mr. Campbell emphasizes that the vital ties between the Philippines and the United States are strong and growing stronger.
“We must continue to invest in them to serve the interests and answer the concerns of our people, to maintain security and the conditions for progress, and to keep following the fruitful pursuits of peace.” -Mr. Campbell
The U.S. government is also working closely with the Philippines to reduce poverty and increase economic prosperity. The U.S. fully supports Philippine efforts to eradicate corruption, to open economic opportunity for all, and to invest in health and education.