US Indo-Pacific Command chief visits PH on 70th anniversary of Mutual Defense Treaty

Published August 23, 2021, 5:51 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The Philippines on Monday welcomed the visit of Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander for United States Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

Visiting US-Indo Pacific Command chief Adm. John Aquilino with US Embassy Charge d’Affaires John Law shortly after his arrival in Manila on Monday, August 23, 2021. (via Twitter/John Law)

Adm. Aquilino met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other top officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and reaffirmed the US commitment to the alliance.

“Our alliance represents the mutual trust that is central to our enduring friendship, and this trust is a necessity in order to confront the security challenges in this theater,” Aquilino said.

He also emphasized that both nations have made clear their commitments to the Alliance, “and that we remain prepared to fight alongside and defend each other using all of our capabilities to preserve the region’s peace and stability”.

AFP Inspector General Lt. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, who represented AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Jose Faustino, said the anniversary of the MDT is an opportunity to advance Philippine-US mutual security interests and manifests commitment of the armed forces of both countries to the alliance even in the midst of challenges brought by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Aquilino’s visit marks his first visit to the Philippines as INDOPACOM chief and underscores the US-Philippine relationship as close friends and allies.

Aquilino first visited the Philippines in August 2018 when he was still the Commander US Navy Pacific Fleet.

The Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States was signed on August 30, 1951 in Washington, D.C.