US visit to strengthen alliance amid ‘turbulent times’ – Philippine President Marcos

2023 May 2

STRONGER ALLIANCE. Presidents Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Joe Biden meet at the White House on Monday (May 1, 2023). Marcos said his US visit is crucial to strengthen the alliance between the Philippines and the US.

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said his visit to Washington, D.C. was vital to strengthen the alliance between the Philippines and the United States, especially during “turbulent times.”

In his speech during the dinner hosted by the Philippine Embassy at the Blair House, Marcos said that the way forward to navigate the “almost chaotic” international scene — defined by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic — is for the Philippines to have “strong partners” or “strong allies”.

“Since things are so volatile the stability would come from those alliances, those partnerships. And it is a strange thing to come from that situation where you have very polarized worldview, to come from that situation where now we have to look into very different directions all the time,” Marcos said.

He also pointed out that despite their turbulent history, the relations between the US and the Philippines have endured.

“But similarly, to our ambassadors’ friendships, like two friendships, you go to turbulent times when there are misunderstandings, when there are difficulties, when other forces prevail upon both sides of the partnership,” Marcos said.

“But between the Philippines and the United States, we have prevailed through all that like a true friendship. And the reason for that I believe is that we truly have come to an understanding as to how we believe certain values and what is important, and our role in the world and that has never really been diminished,” he added.

Marcos said the trade relations and partnership between the Philippines and the US must be “continually revisited” so that both parties would mutually benefit from these initiatives.

“It still continually revisited so as we can make the most of our friendship and our partnership. And so that is the world as I see it today and the reasons that will come. That is why I am very grateful for the invitation of President (Joe) Biden to come to Washington, D.C. and gain the opportunity to meet the leaders of the government,” Marcos said.

He said the mutual defense treaty between the US and the Philippines should evolve to adapt to changing environments.

“It should evolve because the situation that we are surrounded with changes and we must evolve with that. Therefore, it is extremely important that we have these interactions, it’s extremely important that we are constant in communication. It is extremely important that we understand what it is we are trying to achieve,” he said.

Filipino Americans vital to America’s fabric

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for his part, highlighted the vital role of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in shaping America’s social fabric.

“Filipinos and Filipino-Americans are a fundamental part of the fabric of the United States,” Blinken said in the presence of key US cabinet secretaries.

Blinken also noted that the Philippines and the US have forged a bond 70 years ago based on arbitral defense and security, adding that both countries have reaffirmed their desire to maintain peace and order in the Pacific region.

“And just last year, thanks to the leadership of President Biden and President Marcos, we have significantly strengthened our alliance. We’ve launched new initiatives together to create economic opportunities for Americans and Filipinos alike. Because last year, trade between our countries was worth more than USD25 billion, a new record, and today President Biden announced that he will send the first ever presidential trade and investment mission to the Philippines,” Blinken said.

The US official also pointed out that the two countries have laid out plans to initiate new clean energy projects that will only increase power outputs “but also create good paying jobs for both our countries.”

Working with their Filipino counterparts, Blinken said they have taken steps to modernize security alliances “so that our forces can work even closer together despite natural disasters.”

Earlier in the day, Marcos and Biden affirmed a series of partnerships aimed at strengthening the alliance of Manila and Washington.

In a joint statement, Marcos and Biden hailed the “remarkable ties of friendship, community, and shared sacrifice that serve as the foundation of the US-Philippines alliance.”

“In efforts to promote inclusive and broad-based prosperity, invest in the clean energy transition and the fight against climate change, uphold international peace and stability, and ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law, the United States and the Philippines will remain the closest of allies, working together to deliver a better future for our citizens and tackle the emerging challenges of the twenty-first century,” the joint statement read.

 Filane Mikee Cervantes