FOREIGN Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. on Wednesday said that despite sharp differences, ties between the Philippines and the United States will “endure.”
In his remarks during the 243rd Anniversary of the Independence of the US, Locsin cited distinctive commonalities between the two states saying “we both hate subservience to foreign powers. We cannot imagine living without total freedom in word, in thought, and in deed.”
He noted the close security ties between Washington and Manila as manifested by the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty which serves as the foundation to the latter’s only defense alliance.
The strong people-to-people ties bind the two nations, with the estimated four million American citizens of Philippine ancestry in the US, and more than 220,000 US citizens living in the Philippines, he said.
US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said the Philippines-United States relations reached numerous milestones in the past three years.
Kim cited the visit of President Donald Trump to the Philippines during its chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit, the return of the historic Balangiga Bells, and the US working with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in ending the terror siege in Marawi.
“So many great things happened in our relationship and I remain very optimistic about the future of the Philippines-US relationship,” he said in a speech.
“We have shared values, we have shared history, we have shared culture, common interests, and most importantly, the warmth and mutual affection and respect with the Philippines remain very strong, and I think that friendship will carry our partnership and alliance into the future,” he added.
The US has provided over USD143 million in assistance to the Philippines in relief and recovery efforts after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated the country in 2013.
Efforts to reconstruct and rebuild areas damaged in Mindanao are also continuous, with Washington already contributing about USD26.4 million to support humanitarian relief in Marawi as of July 2018 alone.
On economic cooperation, bilateral trade between the two states reached over USD27 billion in goods and services in 2016.
The US is a one of the largest foreign investors in the Philippines and the country’s third-largest trading partner as of 2018.