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‘Closest of allies’ US, PH take on problems of the twenty-first century

On Monday (Washington D.C. time), Presidents Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Joseph Biden committed to fortifying the long-standing US-Philippines partnership, particularly in advancing military and economic cooperation.

The US and the Philippines have “historic momentum” in their relations, characterized by “remarkable ties of friendship, community, and shared sacrifice,” Marcos and Biden acknowledged in a joint statement.

The two leaders discussed ways to improve people-to-people ties between their countries, develop economic cooperation, support the transition to sustainable energy, combat climate change, and uphold human rights.

“The United States and the Philippines will remain the closest of allies, working together to deliver a better future for our citizens and tackle the emerging challenges of the twenty-first century,” the joint statement read. “We are committed to promoting inclusive and broad-based prosperity, investing in the clean energy transition and the fight against climate change, upholding international peace and stability, and ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law.”

Human Services and Collaboration in Security

Biden reiterated the United States’ unwavering commitment to its relationship with the Philippines.

The Bilateral Defense Guidelines, which institutionalize important bilateral priorities, methods, and procedures to strengthen alliance collaboration and interoperability across the land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace, were also adopted by both countries.

Marcos and Biden praised the discovery of additional locations under the US-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which will “strengthen Philippine security and support the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization goals”.

The potential EDCA locations are also expected to increase US involvement in local communities around the Philippines and strengthen the ability of both nations to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief quickly.

Both leaders emphasized the importance of upholding the sovereign rights of nations within their exclusive economic zones by international law, as well as their “unwavering commitment” to freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.

“The leaders back the capacity and right of Filipino fishermen to continue living their traditional lives. The leaders take note of the arbitral tribunal’s 2016 decision, which was made by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the statement continued.

Additionally, they stressed the significance of preserving tranquility and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which they referred to as an “indispensable element of global security and prosperity.”

Both Biden and Marcos expressed support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence within the boundaries of nations that have recognized them, “noting that the conflict (with Russia) has adversely affected food and energy security in the Indo-Pacific.”

Financial collaboration

Marcos and Biden reached an understanding to advance economic development and prosperity in the Philippines, the US, and the larger Indo-Pacific region.

Biden will send a Presidential Trade and Investment Mission there to encourage US companies’ investment in the Philippines’ innovative economy, sustainable energy transition, crucial minerals sector, and population food security.

Additionally, the US and the Philippines will co-host the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Manila for the sixth time in 2024, referred to as the country’s “marquee commercial event in the region.”

The event is anticipated to enhance the Philippines’ status as a “key hub for regional supply chains and high-quality investment.”

The United States also intends to create a physical Open RAN Interoperability Lab in Manila to facilitate a safe 5G rollout in the Philippines, enhance its innovation economy, and give Philippine employees chances to upskill in digital technology.

As well as offering opportunities for vendors and operators deploying Open RAN globally to train and educate local engineers in the design, construction, and operation of these open, secure, and interoperable networks, the Lab will offer practical training to present and aspiring 5G professionals.

legality, human rights

The need to enhance democratic institutions, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including freedom of expression, the press, and association, was emphasized by Marcos and Biden.

The two leaders also emphasized the significance of combating violence, including those directed against marginalized groups, women, children, and civil society.

The leaders applauded establishing a bilateral Labor Working Group as part of the US-Philippines Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, which is viewed as offering a critical chance for the US and the Philippines to “work together on the implementation of internationally recognized labor rights.”

The bilateral labor working group would also promote communication and exchange between the US and Philippine governments, labor unions, and employer groups.

Both leaders committed to increasing collaboration on environmental protections, including better domain awareness, marine conservation, and preventing environmental degradation in coastal areas.

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