CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii – Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Adm. John Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, led the 2022 Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) at Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii, Sept. 27.
Lt. Gen. Bacarro and Adm. Aquilino’s meeting was the annual convening of the MDB-SEB, which concluded a years’ worth of bilateral planning between the two armed forces, ensuring continued, robust relations between the U.S. and Philippine militaries. The U.S. and Philippines agreed to over 500 activities to be completed in 2023.
“The United States and the Philippines remain staunch allies, and this successful MDB-SEB meeting demonstrates our continually growing security cooperation,” Bacarro said. “The Mutual Defense Treaty showcases our strong and long-lasting alliance with the United States that continues to grow throughout the years along with our commitment to preserving peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.”
The successful completion of the MDB-SEB ensures cooperation between the U.S. and the Philippines will continue in support of the Mutual Defense Treaty through exercises, training, and capability building in maritime security, combatting terrorism and transnational crime, cyber security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and many other national security interests.
“Our Mutual Defense Treaty is central to our relationship with the Philippines as friends and allies. This relationship is possible because of our shared values, including our commitment to a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” Aquilino said.
The MDB was established in 1958 and the SEB was established in 2006. Together, the two boards form the annual framework which directs and enables defense and security cooperation between the U.S. and Philippine militaries.