Philippines-United States ties: 2021 developments

October 20, 2021 | 2:46pm
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Philippines-United States ties: 2021 developments
2 days ago

US military service members on Tuesday delivered ICU beds and COVID-19 cold storage units wort P758,750 to the Palawan provincial government.

The donation was made in response to the request of the Palawan provincial government amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the province, the US Embassy says in a media release.

“This donation will help the people of Palawan a lot by upgrading our ability to fight against the pandemic.  It comes at the perfect time due to the surge of new cases and will help us face this new challenge," Palawan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Office director Jeremias Alili says.

October 14, 2021

Following their annual defense cooperation meeting, Philippine and US military leaders have agreed to hold over 300 activities for next year.

AFP chief of staff Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. and US Indo-Pacific Command Commander Adm. John Aquilino's meeting resulted in "ensuring continued, robust relations between the US and Philippine militaries," the Philippine military says.

"I am optimistic that our alliance will continue to be robust in view of new and emerging security challenges that confront our nations. After all, we share the same goal of keeping peace and stability in this region," Faustino says.

October 11, 2021

US President Joe Biden expresses his gratitude to the Filipino American community as the United States commemorates Filipino American History Month.

"Jill and I are proud to recognize Filipino American History Month. Filipino Americans are an essential part of our Nation’s strength, diversity, and history; a living reminder of the courage of immigrants, and a growing force in our civic movements and engagement," Biden says.

September 30, 2021

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana reveals that China tried to stop the review of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States.

"The former Chinese ambassador came to me and said, 'Do not touch the Mutual Defense Treaty. Leave it as it is,'" Lorenzana says in an online forum.

September 21, 2021

The United States, in partnership with the WHO co-led COVAX facility, delivers an additional  2,582,190 doses of the?Pfizer-BioNTech?COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines.

The vaccines, delivered in separate shipments on September 19 and 20, were part of the 500 million doses of Pfizer the United States is making available for distribution through COVAX, the US Embassy in Manila says.

"As the largest donor to the COVAX facility, the United States has facilitated the delivery of more than 16 million vaccine doses to the Philippines via COVAX, including more than 9 million doses donated by the American people," the US Embassy says.

September 17, 2021

The US Embassy in Manila welcomes a new chargé d’affaires, which will serve as the embassy's official representative in the absence of an ambassador.

Heather Variava — former chargé d’affaires at the US Mission to Indonesia — succeeds former Deputy Chief of Mission John Law.

"I look forward to strengthening the broad and deep relationships we have here. While we are not yet free of the pandemic, I am committed to partnering with the government and people of the Philippines to face challenges together," Variava says.

September 13, 2021

For the first time since 2017, the commandant of the US Marine Corps visited Manila to emphasize the alliance between the Philippines and the United States.

US Marine Corps Gen. David Berger met with senior Philippine military officials and US Embassy leadership from September 10 to 11, the US Embassy says in a statetement released Monday.

“This is a very important trip for me to visit leaders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in person,” Berger says.

September 10, 2021

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirm the importance of the Philippines-United States bilateral relationship, the US Department of State says.

The two top diplomats also highlighted the 70th anniversary of the alliance and the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

"Secretary Blinken also underscored the importance of freedom of navigation and respect for international law in the South China Sea, and reiterated calls on the People’s Republic of China to abide by the 2016 arbitration ruling issued pursuant to the Law of the Sea Convention," the US state department spokesperson Ned Price says.

July 29, 2021

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin lands in Manila as part of his trip to Southeast Asia.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said the Pentagon chief will have a formal meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss several issues concerning security and relations.

These include the Visiting Forces Agreement and the West Philippine Sea.

July 28, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte will meet United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday as part of the latter's official visit to Southeast Asia.

Austin's visit to Manila highlights the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the US, the Office of the President says in a statement.

Executive Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez and Presidential Assistant on Foregin Affairs Robert Borje are also expected to attent the courtesy call.

July 14, 2021

Speaking at the Special ASEAN-US Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. welcomes Washington’s open support for the July 2016 Arbitral Award and its commitment to the Mutual Defense Treaty.

"It is binding international law and the most authoritative application of UNCLOS on the maritime entitlements of features in the South China Sea. As such, it contributes to the rules-based order in ASEAN and benefits all the countries that use the vital artery that is the South China Sea. The rest is bluster," Locsin says.

July 1, 2021

As the Philippines and United States commemorate the 75th year of their diplomatic ties, US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law says Washington "is and will forever remain dedicated."

Speaking at the US Embassy's celebration of 2021 US Independence Day, Law says he has confidence that the ties between the longtime allies will continue to prosper and thrive.

"Through wars, natural disasters, pandemics, and whatever else may come our way, the US-Philippine relationship is — as Ambassador Romualdez would like to say — Thriving at 75," he says.

June 13, 2021

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez sees the "light at the end of the tunnel" amid the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of the US government.

In his Independence Day message, Romualdez highlights how Washington assisted the Philippine Embassy and Consulates General as American vaccines make their way to the Philippines either directly or through the COVAX facility.

"This cooperation was strengthened due in large part to the active and compassionate Filipino communities who augmented and broadened our Government's endeavors," Romualdez says in a statement.

May 11, 2021

The U.S. Embassy in Manila welcomes the arrival of the first batch of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from the global COVAX facility, to which is the United States is the largest contributor.

A total of193,050 doses of U.S.-manufactured vaccine arrived yesterday, adding to the 2,030,400 doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine from COVAX.

The embassy's news release notes that the U.S. is funding one in five vaccinations in the Philippines under COVAX.

"I am proud that this extraordinarily safe and effective vaccine, developed through U.S. scientific ingenuity, will protect Filipinos. As we fight the pandemic together, the United States will continue to support the Philippines’ vaccination and COVID-19 mitigation efforts,” says U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law.

April 9, 2021

In a phone call earlier today, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and US State Secretary Antony Blinken shared concerns with the massing of Chinese maritime militia vessels in the West Philippine Sea, including Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef, US State Department Ned Price says.

The two foreign ministers also reiterate their calls on China to abide by the 2016 arbitration ruling issued pursuant to the Law of the Sea Convention.

"Secretary Blinken also reaffirmed the applicability of the 1951 U.S.-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty to the South China Sea," Price says.

April 8, 2021

The United States reiterates its commitment to its Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines amid the continuing presence of Chinese militia ships in the West Philippine Sea.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price echoes the earlier statement of State Secretary Antony Blinken, expressing concerns on the latest development in Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef.

"As we have stated before, an armed attack against the Philippines armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea, will trigger our obligations under the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty," Price tells reporters in a press briefing on Wednesday.

The transcript of this press briefing can be accessed here.

March 29, 2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterates the position of Washington on the presence of China's maritime militia at Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.

"We will always stand by our allies and stand up for the rules-based international order," Blinken tweets Monday morning (Manila time).

March 16, 2021

The United States hands over P3.7 million ($75,000) worth of underwater equipment to the Philippine National Police - Maritime Group in support of its underwater crime scene investigation program.

On Monday, representatives from the US Department of State, US Department of Defense and US Coast Guard turned over 12 sets of scuba gear, underwater evidence collection items and some related training equipment to PNP-MG director PBrig. Gen. John Mitchell Jamili.

The US has funded the PNP's underwater crime scene investigation program since 2016.

March 5, 2021

The United States, the biggest COVAX donor, welcomes the arrival of 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines, the US Embassy in Manila says.

The US has so far donated P97.2 billion ($2 billion) to COVAX "to ensure the Philippines and other countries receive COVID-19 vaccines."

"As we fight the pandemic together, the United States will continue to support the Philippines’ vaccination and COVID-19 mitigation efforts," US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law says.

February 10, 2021

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin affirms Washington's commitment to the US-Philippines alliance in an introductory phone call with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

The US Department of Defense, known as the Pentagon, says Austin highlighted the value of Visiting Forces Agreement between the two countries.

Lorenzana and Austin also talked about regional security challenges, including the South China Sea, counterterrorism and maritime security.


A thread of major developments in the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States from January to December 2021. (Presidential photo/Joey Dalumpines and AFP/Angela Weiss)

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