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Saturday, April 20, 2024

AFP, US Navy renew vow for stronger defense partnership

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The chief of naval operations of the United States Navy and senior officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have pushed for collaboration between the US and the Philippines, including the conduct of joint training and exercises, to ensure security in the Indo-Pacific.

Admiral Michael Gilday cited the need for the two countries to work closely together during his separate meetings with Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Andres Centino and Philippine Navy Flag Officer In Command Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr.

“Our alliance with the Philippines is ironclad and indispensable, we have shared values and interests and are both committed to preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Gilday said in a statement released by the US Embassy in Manila.

“We will continue to build on our strong alliance and strengthen our interoperability and mutual defense posture. We remain focused on enhanced security cooperation, combined training, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations,” he added.

Gilday’s presence in the country from Tuesday and Wednesday this week was part of his regional tour that also included a visit to Australia. It was his first trip to the country as US Navy’s chief of naval operations.

His visit to the country came shortly after the bilateral dialogues of the Philippine Fleet with the US 7th Fleet and the Philippine Marine Corps with the US Marine Corps Forces Pacific.

The US Embassy said that Gilday’s visit was focused on US and Philippine maritime domain awareness and naval capabilities and the importance of the US-Philippine alliance to peace and stability in the region.

During his meeting with Centino, Gilday discussed regional security issues and the collaboration between the two militaries, including joint training and exercises.

Both officials also underscored the importance of the additional four locations for American troops and their equipment under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

During his separate meeting with Adaci, Gilday emphasized the need for collaboration among allies and the importance of providing forces in creating great opportunities to implement joint operations and maritime exercises.

Adaci agreed with the US admiral and reassured the Navy’s sustained collaboration with its US counterpart.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles visited the headquarters of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Maguindanao on Thursday to check on the ongoing joint training by Army forces from both countries.

Marles was accompanied by Centino.

Image credits: AP/Aaron Favila

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