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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Top American military official visits Manila

American Indopacom Commander visits the Philippines

MANILA – Admiral John C. Aquilino, commander for the U.S – Pacific Command visited the Philippines in time for the 70th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty and reaffirmed the US commitment to the alliance with the Philippines.

During his visit, he met with senior government officials and reiterated the U.S. commitment to the Philippines and the Indo-Pacific region.

“Our alliance represents the mutual trust that is central to the enduring friendship, and this trust is a necessity in order to confront the security challenges in this theater,” Aquilino said. He added both the United States and the Philippines have made it clear that we both sides are committed to the Alliance, “and that we remain prepared to fight alongside and defend each other using all our capabilities to preserve the region’s peace and stability.”

He also met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana and AFP Inspector General Lt. General Nemesio M. Gacal.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines welcomes Admiral John C. Aquilino as we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty, the birth of our defense alliance,” Lt. General Gacal said.

“This occasion is an opportunity to advance our mutual security interests and manifests both our Armed Forces’ commitment to the alliance even in the midst of challenges brought by the pandemic,” he added.

This is Admiral Aquilino’s first visit as Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and underscores the U.S. – Philippines relationship as close friends and allies. He visited the Philippines as Commander of the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet in August 2018 and met with Defense Secretary Lorenzana and other top military officials.

Earlier, AFP Chief of Staff Lt. General Jose Faustino, Jr. and Admiral Aquilino were supposed to host a joint press conference but was cancelled

After the chief of staff tested positive for COVID-19. He has received two doses of Anti-COVID-19 vaccine.

In a statement, he said the result of his RT-PCR test revealed he was positive of the virus.

“Fortunately, I am fully vaccinated and in high spirits to continue performing my job, albeit in quarantine,” he said in a statement.

He added he will remain in command of the AFP but will continue to follow the prescribed isolation protocol to ensure the safety of people who work with him and that of his family.

“I will join the Western Mindanao Command Change virtually tomorrow,” he added.

He also called on the general public to support the government’s vaccination efforts and get inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine whenever and wherever the can. (Melo M. Acuña)

Admiral John C. Aquilino meets with AFP's Inspector General Nemesio M. Gacal (representing AFP Chief of Staff Lt. General Jose Faustino, Jr. who contacted COVID-19) at a meeting at CAmo Emilio Aguinaldo. (AFP Photos)

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