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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Secretary Barrett says PH-US alliance important to regional stability

Top US Defense official reaffirms military partnership with the Philippines

MANILA – US Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett today met with Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna and discussed issues of mutual concern governing the partnership with the Philippines described as America’s oldest treaty ally in the region.

During her visit, he also met with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Gilbert Gapay, and Philippine Air Force commander Lt. General Allen Paredes.

She said the existing alliance between the two countries remains important to national and regional security. She also explored opportunities for greater bilateral security cooperation and highlighted the US Covid-19-related assistance and disaster relief for recent typhoon victims, and the on-going US support for the Philippine counterterrorism and maritime security efforts.

“From joint counterterrorism efforts to humanitarian support, the US and Philippines have a long history of working together to protect global security through regional stability.” Barrett said.

She added American Air and Space Forces look forward to building on the existing strong relationship with the Philippine military through greater interoperability and training opportunities with the Philippine Air Force while exploring the possibility of cooperation in space domain.

“We look forward to working with our US counterparts in pursuit of our common goals and interests,” Luna said.

Defense Asst. Secretary for Logistics, Acquisitions and Self-Reliant Defense Posture Jesus Roy Avila said they at the DND looks forward to continuing cooperation on defense and security including the Philippine government’s thrust to modernize its Armed Forces.

Her visit coincided with the handover to the Philippine Navy of a ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System worth P710 million or US$14.79 million drone to boost the Philippine military’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, strengthening maritime domain awareness as well as border security.

Secretary Barrett’s visit immediately follows National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien’s two-day visit where the latter turned over US$18 million worth of military equipment and training and US$3.5 million in US humanitarian assistance to inundated areas by the recent series of weather disturbances.

The Philippines is the largest recipient of US military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region.

From 2015, the United States delivered over P33 billion or US$650 million worth of planes, ships, armored vehicles, small arms and other military equipment while training side-by-side with Filipino soldiers. (Melo M. Acuña)

United States Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett (center) signs the Guest Book at the Philippine Air Force Headquarters this morning. Others in photo are Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna and AFT Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay. (DND Social Media Photo)

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