PH and US military top brass discuss mutual defense
MANILA, Philippines — Top military officials from the Philippines and the United States conducted on Thursday their annual meeting to tackle the policy direction for the sake of mutual defense of both countries.
General Romeo Brawner Jr., chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and US Indo-Pacific commander Admiral John Christopher Aquilino led this year’s Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB).
“The meeting was marked by fruitful discussions and strategic collaboration,” Brawner said in his speech during the press conference.
Brawner added: “We have dedicated ourselves to addressing the dynamic and evolving challenges that confront our nation’s security.”
For his part, Aquilino said this meeting reaffirms the commitment of both countries in ensuring that the Indo-Pacific remains “free for all.”
The number of activities for next year’s exercises was not yet disclosed, but Aquilino highlighted that there will be a continued joint sail between two countries in the West Philippine Sea.
In line with the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States, the MDB was created in 1958 while the SEB was established in 2006.
Prior to this meeting, Brawner and Aquilino also visited on Wednesday three identified Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) sites in Cagayan and Pampanga that could be used for training and exercises.
“We conducted an extensive tour of the completed Edca projects and we were able to gain first-hand knowledge of the bases’ potential for the development of key facilities to support Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response operations,” Brawner said.
“This underscores the continued partnership and collaboration between the Philippines and United States militaries in enhancing national defense capabilities, as well as the shared commitment to regional security and disaster response efforts,” he added.