MANILA (Mabuhay) – The United States on Wednesday reiterated its commitment to stand by the Philippines, its long-time ally, in the face of threats – a statement that could have extra meaning in light of recent developments in the territorial dispute between Manila and Beijing.
“As treaty allies, when the Philippines faces threats or natural disasters, so do we,” said US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg during his speech at the commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan in Bataan.
Goldberg did not mention specific threats, but his speech came at the time of increasing tensions between the Philippines and China over overlapping claims in the South China Sea.
Relations between the two Asian neighbors hit a low point when the Philippines sought arbitration in January 2013 to try to declare as illegal China’s massive claim over the South China Sea because it overlaps with Manila’s territories.
In his speech, Goldberg instead explained that the shared “history of sacrifice” between Filipino and American troops during World War II “forges the special relationship” of the two countries.
“As shown in history and present until this very day, we can and will continue to work together shoulder to shoulder to improve each other’s militaries and our nations as a whole,” he said.
“Like soldiers walking side by side, our friendship is stronger through the adversity we have faced together,” Goldberg added.
Goldberg also commended the work of veterans for paving the way for the present-day peace being enjoyed by the people.
“The gallantry of those who fought for our freedom all those years ago must never be forgotten. It is important that we take time today to honor their service and sacrifice,” he said.
“Today it’s remarkable that not just our two nations but three – the US, the Philippines, and Japan – have forged close and enduring friendships alliances and strategic partnerships based on democratic values and mutual respect that came from the blood and sacrifice of our soldiers,” Goldberg added. (MNS)