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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Third American ranking defense official in several weeks meet with DND and DFA secretaries

U.S. top defense official visits Manila, hands over US$29.3 million in military hardware

MANILA – Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Christopher Miller visited Manila today and turned-over defense articles, including sniper and anti-IED equipment to senior military officials.

He also met with Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. earlier today.

According to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Manila, the visit demonstrates the “longstanding and steadfast U.S. military commitment to the Philippines,” which they further described as “the oldest U.S. treaty ally in Asia.”

During the meetings, Secretary Miller said the U.S. Philippine alliance is important to national and regional security as they discussed opportunities for greater bilateral security cooperation to maintain “a free and open Indo-Pacific region.” He added the U.S. government has already extended P1.1 billion or US$23.4 million in COVID-19 assistance and disaster relief for recent typhoon victims along with the ongoing U.S. support for the Philippines’ counterterrorism and maritime security efforts.

He said the turnover last December 2 of defense equipment to several special mission units of the AFP to support its modernization goals. The new equipment will strengthen the AFP’s joint precision strike, sniper, riverine, and counter-improvised explosive device capabilities.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to visit the Philippines, the United States’ oldest treaty ally in Asia. It was an honor to meet with Secretary Lorenzana and Secretary Locsin to discuss deepening our alliance and supporting a free and open South China Sea and Indo-Pacific region,” Acting Secretary of Defense Miller said.

For his part, Secretary Lorenzana said they are grateful for the support provided by the United States as they strive to enhance the Philippines’ defense capabilities.

“The modernization of the AFP will ultimately allow us to respond more effectively to both traditional and non-traditional security threats in our maritime nation.” Secretary Lorenzana said.

Acting Defense Secretary Miller’s visit follows the trip to the Philippines of U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett last November 25 where she presided over the handover of a ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System to the Philippine Navy and the two-day visit of National Security Advisor Roberto O’Brien from November 22-23 where he announced P868 million or (US$18 million) in supplementary military equipment and training for the Armed Force of the Philippines.

According to the U.S. Embassy statement, the Philippines is the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region so far. From 2015, the United States delivered more than P33 billion or US$650 million worth of planes, ships, armored vehicles, small arms, and other military equipment to the Philippines while training side-by-side with their Filipino counterparts. (Melo M. Acuna)

U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller (center) left photo poses with Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana (left) and Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. (right) and Secretary Miller going over the American-made equipment up for turn-over. (US Embassy photos)

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