Last 11 September 2019, VICE ADMIRAL RENE MEDINA AFP hosted the visit of ADMIRAL PHIL DAVIDSON USN, the 25th Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command. The said command is America’s oldest and largest military combatant command based in Hawaii. ADMIRAL DAVIDSON USN was accompanied by his staffs from the United States Armed Forces and including some officers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines with LTGEN ANTONIO RAMON LIM AFP representing the AFP Chief of Staff GENERAL BENJAMIN MADRIGAL AFP. The said visit to the Western Command was part of ADMIRAL DAVIDSON’s itinerary in the Philippines’ hosted Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board (MDB-SDB) meetings .
The United States Indo-Pacific Command had always been exploring new avenues of cooperation and interaction particularly those that touches capacity and capability build-up among their allies. VICE ADMIRAL MEDINA AFP said that the Western Command had always been committed to the US-Philippines mutual defense treaty. He further added that WESCOM has been aware in the impact and importance of the US effort to reinforce the AFP’s defense and security capabilities that foster the sincerity of the US to help the AFP’s thrust to strengthen its ground forces. WESCOM is also thankful that out of the US generosity, WESCOM will soon be able to add the newly installed Command and Control (C2) Fusion Facilities in its inventory list of vital facilities.
VICE ADMIRAL MEDINA AFP believes that the long-standing friendship that thrives between the Philippines and US are deeply rooted to the common goal of attaining lasting peace and order within the scope of the area of concern and jurisdiction of both the Philippines and the US. “The United States’ forces for that matter, really supported us in fighting terrorism and violent extremism in our country. In fact, I had the privileged in witnessing how effective your support in providing technical and surveillance assistance to Philippine troops during our battle against Islamic State Maute group way back when I was the Commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao”, VICE ADMIRAL MEDINA said.
The military cooperation among US and Philippines had helped WESCOM in so many ways. WESCOM had solidly established bilateral cooperative agreements that benefiting both the Philippines and the US. As a product of it, WESCOM had the opportunity to jointly train with the United States Indo-Pacific Command counterpart and found the chance to learn through exchanges of expertise. The said US Command had played a vital part in maintaining peace, stability, and security not only in the Philippines but also in vast regions where they are legally obliged to cooperate.
For his part, ADMIRAL DAVIDSON stated during the Commander and Staff conference and briefing that the United States Indo-Pacific Command has always been aware that the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the Philippines and the United States is not just a piece of paper without any value. The US had always looked beyond what is written on the said document because it symbolizes the friendship that was built between both countries even before World War 1 and 2. He further stated that the United States Indo-Pacific Command is very clear and specific in its commitment to the implementation of the MDT.
It can be recalled that earlier this year, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Philippines to talk to the President about the MDT and other significant issues that would be mutually beneficial to both the Philippines and the US.
In conclusion, VICE ADMIRAL MEDINA AFP responded, “We, in Western Command had been keen in advancing initiatives to address security concerns especially those that are mutually experienced by us. On our part, we are very thankful that our harmonious relationship with the United States in terms of military cooperation grows even stronger each year. We do hope that this cooperation and partnership will continue to grow in the years to come. Again, thank you for visiting us here in Western Command.”
6th Civil Relations Group