By Francis Wakefield
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr. and Admiral Philip Davidson, chief of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, led Thursday the 2018 Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) meeting where they agreed on security cooperation activities until 2019.
Galvez said the meeting with Davidson, held at the Tejeros Hall, AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, ensured the continued robust relations between the Philippines and the US militaries with both agreeing to conduct 281 security cooperation activities for 2019, an increase over 2018.
“We have been doing this year after year and yet there is still so much left to learn. We hope that this year would be another fruitful interaction that will lead to favorable outcome. May our discussions lead to actions, and may these actions thereby lead us to success,” Galvez said.
He said both the Philippines and the U.S. look forward to ongoing, close cooperation in areas central to national and security interests, including counterterrorism, maritime security, cyber security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The MDB was established in 1958 and the SEB was established in 2006. The two boards together form the annual MDB-SEB meeting, which coordinates a framework for defense and security cooperation between the Philippine and U.S. militaries.
Prior to becoming commander of USINDOPACOM on May 30, 2018, Adm. Davidson served as the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command/Naval Forces U.S. Northern Command. He previously served as the commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet, and commander of the Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, while simultaneously serving as the deputy commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa.
During the visit, matters of mutual interest were discussed including the strength of the U.S.-Philippine partnership and the importance of the U.S-Philippine alliance to the Indo-Pacific region.
USINDOPACOM is America’s oldest and largest military combatant comman, based in Hawaii, which includes 380,000 soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and coast guardsmen and is responsible for all U.S. military activities in the Indo-Pacific covering 36 nations, 14 time zones, and more than 50 percent of the world’s population.