MANILA, Philippines -- Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, conducted bilateral meetings April 29 to discuss multiple initiatives pertaining to the U.S.-Philippines Alliance.
Adm. Aquilino met with Philippine National Security Adviser Eduardo Año, Senior Undersecretary and Officer in Charge of the Department of National Defense of the Republic of the Philippines Carlito Galvez, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo, and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Gen. Andres Centino.
The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to and the centrality of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the U.S.-Philippine Alliance. Leaders from each country expressed concerns about tensions in the South China Sea and the impact of natural and man-made disasters and discussed ways to collectively promote peace and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific.
Discussions also focused on lessons learned from past cooperative training efforts with an eye toward maximizing future opportunities, which include expanding the scope and complexity of multilateral engagements, exercises, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response efforts that will allow countries to rapidly respond in the event of a crisis.
While in the Philippines, Adm. Aquilino also spoke at the closing ceremony for Balikatan 2023, the largest annual U.S.-Philippines bilateral exercise in which AFP and U.S. military personnel trained shoulder-to-shoulder, developing interoperability, enhancing capabilities, and demonstrating the strength and readiness of the Alliance.
Concurrently, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Senior Enlisted Leader Fleet Master Chief David Isom met with his counterpart Master Chief Petty Officer Joe Marie V. Lucero PN, Acting AFP Sergeant Major, and other AFP senior enlisted leaders to discuss professional enlisted development programs and continued collaboration and interoperability between the U.S., the Philippines, and partner nations.
The U.S and the Philippines continue to make significant strides to advance Alliance cooperation in an increasingly complex Indo-Pacific security environment, deepening consultations on a range of security issues of shared interest while enhancing operational cooperation and continuing to prioritize the modernization of mutual defense capabilities.