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Meeting to support the ‘good momentum’ of the US-Philippines defense partnership

The meeting between Gen. James McConville, commander of the United States Army, and Carlito Galvez Jr., head of the Department of National Defense (DND), demonstrates the growing strength of the defense partnership between Manila and Washington, DC.

“The meeting between the two officials builds on the positive momentum of the Philippines-US defense alliance and further reinforces the close and cooperative military relationship between the two nations,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement on Friday.

He continued that McConville’s visit to the DND chief on May 10 is one of several high-level trips by American officials, showing the US government’s intention to fortify the bilateral relationship.

Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall III, Admiral John Aquilino, Chief of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of US Navy Operations, Lindsey Ford, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense for South and Southeast Asia, and Mira Resnick, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Burma, were other US officials who visited the Philippines during the Marcos administration.

The two officials also discussed the Philippines and the United States’ solid and enduring defense alliance.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s recent official visit to the US, for example, was one of several high-level contacts between the two countries that had positive results, according to Andolong.
The US Government graciously hosted the President and the Philippine team during their visit to the US Department of Defense, and Senior Undersecretary Galvez expressed his sincere gratitude for this. A rare, unique distinction was granted to a visiting dignitary when President Marcos was accorded military honors with a 21-gun salute at both the Pentagon and Arlington Memorial Cemetery, he continued.

At the conference, Galvez commended the performance of Exercise “Salaknib,” an annual Army-to-Army exercise aimed at enhancing the interoperability between Filipino and American soldiers and the successful completion of the largest iteration of the “Balikatan” Exercise.

Furthermore, he remembered that both drills involved live firing and used tools like the Javelin anti-tank missile system and the high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS), according to Andolong.

McConville, however, emphasized the significance of the two military forces collaborating and forging enduring connections.

He noted that cooperation between allies and friends leads to strength, which promotes peace in the region, Andolong remarked.

Both officials emphasized the close ties between the US and the Philippines personally. They shared their memories of junior officers who had taken joint courses with the US Army and other prestigious multi-level international military education and training programs offered by the US Armed Forces. They also emphasized how much they had learned from each other.

“Gen. McConville was amazed when Senior Undersecretary Galvez shared that no less than six cabinet secretaries in the previous administration were graduates of US training programs in Fort Benning, Georgia, and other military courses and institutions,” Andolong said.

A long-standing and powerful defense relationship between the Philippines and the United States has been developed over years of collaboration and assistance.

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