The United States is revitalizing its long-standing alliance with the Philippines in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century. "In many ways," said U.S. Assistant of Secretary State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell, "we are writing a new chapter in our relationship and turning the page from a legacy of paternalism to a partnership of equals."
In recent Congressional testimony Assistant Secretary Campbell and Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Lavoy noted that the United States and Philippines are allies committed to sustaining global and regional peace, security and prosperity.
While the U.S. and the Philippines remain committed to countering al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups in the southern Philippines, including with the support provided by the Joint Special Operations Task Force, the two countries are also increasing their cooperation in maritime security and humanitarian and disaster assistance.
Assistant Secretary Campbell added that the U.S. and the Philippines are also building a stronger economic partnership. The U.S. is the second largest trading partner of the Philippines and one of its largest foreign investors.
But more needs to be done to enhance the commercial relationship, particularly in removing certain trade barriers, which the United States believes unfairly penalize U.S. products, including Philippine restrictions on frozen meat imports.
The U.S. and Philippine governments have committed to a joint development approach in addressing the main constraints impeding equitable, broad-based economic growth for Filipinos. Primary focus involves support for the Aquino administration’s anti-corruption efforts.
Assistant Secretary Campbell noted that Philippine president Benigno Aquino has brought his “integrity, passion and commitment” to the fore in seeking to follow through on his campaign pledges to root out corruption in the Philippines.
President Aquino has given his personal attention to addressing the scourge of human trafficking and there has been significant progress under his leadership. The U.S. supports government and civil society institutions that are working to prevent victimization, rescue those who have been abused, and expeditiously apprehend and prosecute perpetrators.
"The vital ties between the Philippines and the United States are strong and growing stronger," said Assistant Secretary Campbell, "and we must continue to invest in them to serve the interests and answer the concerns of our people, to maintain security and the conditions for progress, and to keep following the fruitful pursuits of peace."