Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel “Babes” Romualdez on Saturday, March 27 (Manila time) led the launch of the celebration of 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States, referring to the ties as “an undeniable testament to the depth and quality of the bilateral relationship.”
“Some say 75 years is indeed a long time to stay as friends, partners, and allies, but I believe this is an undeniable testament to the depth and quality of the bilateral relationship. Our ties have withstood the test of time and have served both our countries and peoples well,” Romualdez said in a statement.
The two countries are also marking the 70th anniversary of the Mutual Defense Treaty, which “enables close security cooperation that enhances mutual peace and security.”
Romualdez was joined by U.S Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Ambassador Sung Kim in Washington, D.C. in launching the bilateral campaign to celebrate the two countries 75th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations.
The two countries officially established diplomatic relations on July 4, 1946, at the same time that the Philippines gained its independence and became a sovereign republic.
The Philippines is the United States’ oldest treaty ally in Asia.
“As you know, I served as Ambassador to the Philippines just recently and it’s a true privilege to see firsthand the strength of the bond between our two countries. Starting with the unbreakable friendship between Americans and Filipinos, of course, the robust military partnership that we have, and an equally strong economic partnership,” Kim said.
“I think what really impressed me the most was the potential for us to develop the relationship even further, even deeper, and again, I think that starts with the warmth, affection, and mutual respect between our two countries,” he added.
There are over four million U.S citizens of Philippine ancestry in the United States.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, there were more than 350,000 U.S citizens living and traveling in the Philippines and an estimated 650,000 U.S citizens visiting the Philippines each year.
Despite the recent rocky relationship between the two countries because of President Duterte’s anti-American sentiments, the Philippines and the U.S are bound together by their people.
“Certainly, what truly binds our two countries together are our peoples, and it is for them that we are celebrating this momentous occasion. It also provides an opportunity for the Philippines and the United States to not just take stock of what we have achieved together throughout the years, but also to reaffirm our commitment to more robust ties and to a relationship that remains relevant in a world that will continue to face new and continuing challenges,” Romualdez said.
Among these challenges is the increasing tension between the U.S and China in the West Philippine Sea, the whole of which is being claimed by China while Washington maintains strategic and navigational interests.
The event headed by Romualdez and Kim marks the start of a yearlong commemoration through various activities and initiatives by the Philippine Embassy and Consulates General in the United States, as well as the U.S Embassy in Manila.
U.S Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires John Law joined the celebration by video, wherein he said that the two countries accomplished “so much together” in the past three decades.
“Moving forward, we will accomplish even more thanks to the friendship, cooperation, and mutual support between Americans and Filipinos,” he added.