Washington, D.C., USA
May 3, 2023
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. visited the U.S. Department of Defense where he was accorded with full honors ceremony and held a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.
“For decades, the Philippines had been an indispensable friend and ally to the United States. Our alliance is rooted in our common democratic values and draws strength from the deep bonds between our people. And I said before, Mr. President, we’re more than allies, we’re family,” Secretary Austin said in his opening remarks.
The Defense Secretary added that both nations share a common vision for free and open Indo-Pacific governed by rules and rights as it provides security and prosperity not just for the Philippines and U.S. but for the whole region. He reiterated President Joseph Biden’s iron-clad commitment to the defense of the Philippines.
“Today I look forward to discussing how we’ve made the alliance stronger, including the recent expansion of our Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement to four new sites across the Philippines. I also like to talk about concluding our new bilateral defense guidelines and other ways that we can build on our progress. So, Mr. President, we’re grateful for your enduring commitment to modernizing and deepening our alliance,” Defense Secretary Austin ended in his statement.
In response, President Marcos Jr. conveyed his appreciation of having been invited by the U.S. President with the primary aim of further strengthening relationship that he described as long-standing and very robust.
“And the call of the times, unfortunately, is asking for us to meet these challenges, new challenges that perhaps we have not faced before. And that’s why it is very important, it’s continuing exchanges that we have started. First, with the visits of Vice President, Secretary Blinken, yourself and the 2+2 meetings that we have conducted last month. And so, Mr. Secretary, I look forward to a very bright future between the Philippines and the United States. A future that is founded on the long, experienced and as you said, friendship and familial relationship, it’s the people-to-people, the people-to-people exchanges between our two countries have been ongoing at every level. And it is our job, I believe now, to strengthen that and to build upon,” the Chief Executive stated.