Bongbong Marcos: PH-US relationship back on ‘normal role’
WASHINGTON D.C., United States — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday (Friday, Manila time) said that relations between the Philippines and the US are “back on the normal role of partnership” with the recent “steady exchange of official engagements” at all levels of the government.
In a forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Marcos pointed out that these official engagements include his first meeting with US President Joe Biden in September last year in New York, which is the first visit of a sitting Philippine president to Washington in over 10 years.
“I do not quite know how that developed that way as that has been in the case, but we are back on our normal role of partnership, working together hand in hand,” he said in his speech.
During his visit to the US, Marcos said Manila and Washington have committed to deepening their ties with each other on various areas of cooperation, such as defense, and security among others.
Relations between the US and the Philippines soured after Marcos’ predecessor, former President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the two nations.
The order came after the US suspended the visa of former top cop and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who is known to be Duterte’s staunchest ally.
Duterte had not once stepped into the US during his six-year stint as the chief executive, saying he would never visit the country.
Marcos earlier said that the relations between the US and the Philippines endured despite “turbulent” times, saying that it goes through various ups and downs as in any relationship or friendship.
The President then noted that the world currently faces many “enormous and complex” challenges, including climate change, food, water and energy crises, and terrorism.
This is why, he said, he is calling to “evolve” the alliance between Manila and Washington.
“We are grappling with both new and traditional threats to our peoples’ security, nowhere more acutely felt than in the Indo-Pacific region, and the Philippines sits squarely at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region,” the President said.
“It is for this reason that I called for evolving our alliance—to make it more responsive to present and emerging challenges,” he said.
During a meeting in the White House last Monday, US President Biden reaffirmed the US’ “ironclad” commitment to the defense of the Philippines, including in the South China Sea.
This means that any attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft in the Pacific, including the South China Sea, would trigger US mutual defense commitments under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.
During Marcos’ Washington visit, Washington and Manila’s defense departments finalized their bilateral defense guidelines, wherein both Philippines and the US agreed to expand cooperation on maritime security, and it will not be limited to joint patrols.