The alliance between the United States and the Philippines is based on deep historical, economic and cultural ties, and shared democratic values.
Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent trip to the Philippines reaffirmed the importance of the relationship and offered an opportunity to discuss expanding cooperation and investment on a range of issues, including advancing clean energy, increasing access to quality education, facing common security challenges, and supporting freedom of the seas.
The Vice President met with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos in Manila on November 21 to discuss new initiatives. The following day she travelled to Puerto Princesa in the Philippine Province of Palawan, at the edge of the South China Sea.
In remarks aboard a Philippine Coast Guard ship, Vice President Harris announced additional areas of cooperation. These include new U.S. funding to Philippine maritime law enforcement agencies to counter illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, which presents a direct threat to coastal ecosystems and economies.
The United States, she said, has also stepped up efforts to provide the Philippines and other countries in the region with a wider and more accurate picture of their territorial waters. This month, a U.S. partner organization is launching new satellites so that more space-based platforms can deliver a common operating picture of critical Indo-Pacific waterways and increase their maritime domain awareness capabilities so “our allies and partners can better protect vulnerable fisheries, respond to humanitarian disasters, and detect and counter illicit activities.”
The Vice President praised the Philippine Coast Guard, which “is on the frontlines of standing up for the international rules-based order.” She noted the intimidation and attempts at coercion experienced by the Philippines from the PRC as Beijing asserts its expansive and illegal South China Sea maritime claims. “The United States stands with the Philippines,” she said. “We will continue to rally our allies and partners against unlawful and irresponsible behavior.”
“We must stand up for principles such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity unimpeded lawful commerce, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea and throughout the Indo-Pacific,” declared Vice President Harris. “When the international rules-based order is threatened somewhere, it is threatened everywhere.”
Vice President Harris ended her address with a message: “The United States-Philippines alliance is strong. We are committed to you. We are committed to your success and to all the lives and livelihoods that rely on your work.”