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10/23/03 - U.S. & PHILIPPINES SHARE VALUES - 2003-10-23

U.S. President George W. Bush and Philippine President Gloria Arroyo reaffirmed the commitment of both nations to defeat terrorism and strengthen democracy. "We must close ranks and stand firm against terrorist threats, however grave," said President Arroyo. Addressing a joint session of the Philippine Congress, President Bush warned of a new totalitarian threat to civilization:

"Like other militarists and fascists before them, the terrorists and their allies seek to control every mind and soul. They seek to spread chaos and fear, intimidate whole societies, and silence all opposition. They seek weapons of mass destruction to complete their hatred and genocide. The terrorists will continue their missions of murder and suicide until they're stopped, and we will stop them."

President Bush praised the leadership of President Arroyo in the war against terrorism. The Philippines has worked closely with other governments in the region to bring to justice terrorists linked to groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah. Philippine authorities have also waged a resolute campaign to destroy the Abu Sayyaf group -- Muslim separatist terrorists who kidnap, murder, and torture Filipinos and foreigners alike. "My government and your government pursue a common objective," said President Bush. “We will bring Abu Sayyaf to justice.”

To assist the Philippines in promoting regional security and combating global terrorism, the U.S. will continue to help upgrade the capabilities of the Philippine military and provide additional training and equipment to Philippine police.

The U. S. and the Philippines are linked by shared convictions. As President Bush put it, "We believe in free enterprise, disciplined by humanity and compassion. We believe in the importance of religious faith, protected by religious liberty. We believe in the rule of law, made legitimate by the will of the people. And we believe that democracy is the only form of government fully compatible with human dignity."