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Phl-US ties almost a family relationship – US official
Screen grab from an ABS-CBN news video shows Americans launching a drone in Marawi City.
MANILA, Philippines - An official of the US Department of State has described Philippines-US ties as “almost a family relationship.”
Thomas Shannon Jr., undersecretary of state for political affairs, said the Philippines and US face common challenges in fighting terrorism, drugs, illiteracy and poverty.
“The Philippines and the US are on the same team – allies – and though the challenges we face may be great, our teamwork and partnership will help us stay on the winning side,” Shannon said during a reception at the Philippine embassy in Washington in commemoration of the 119th anniversary of Philippine Independence.
With a growing economy and strong commitment to democracy and its institutions, he said the future looks bright for the Philippines.
“We are proud to stand by the Philippines as teammates, partners and family,” he added.
The two countries, he said, have a common set of core values: democracy, economic openness, rule of law and determined defense of our sovereignty and liberty.
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“As we have been for over a half century, the US and Filipino peoples are united in our commitment to building a safe, secure and prosperous Asia Pacific region and wider world,” Shannon declared.
Minister Patrick Chuasoto, chargé d’affaires of the Philippine embassy in Washington, said the Philippines-US alliance continues to stand “strong whether in good or challenging times.”
He highlighted the country’s bright development prospects that are anchored on the comprehensive and inclusive policy agenda of the Duterte administration.
Chuasoto underlined the country’s independent foreign policy, which has “always been guided by paramount considerations such as national sovereignty and territorial integrity, national interest and national security, the right to self-determination and the protection and the promotion of the welfare of the Filipino people.”
“As a member of good standing in the international community and in pursuit of its national objectives, the Philippines seeks fruitful partnerships with other countries, based on mutual respect, understanding and benefit. We seek friendships based on shared interests, but not at the expense of any one country. We seek to build more bridges, to strengthen old valued partnerships and at the same time strengthen new relationships and build new partnerships,” Chuasoto said.
The occasion also served to reaffirm the strong and steadfast bond between the Philippines and the US, both within the bilateral and ASEAN frameworks.
“The US has also been an enduring and reliable ally of the Philippines. The US is our only treaty ally. The Philippines is also the US’s oldest ally in Asia. Our friendship is decades long, reinforced by an alliance that continues to stand strong whether in good or challenging times,” Chuasoto stated.
He said this year’s theme, Kalayaan 2017: Pagbabagong Sama-Samang Balikatin, reiterates that the noble task of nation-building is on the shoulders of Filipinos.
“Our independence and sovereignty demands no less. May we all be reminded that the challenge for the next generation is to honor, cherish and safeguard the very freedoms that our forefathers valiantly fought for and gave their lives in heroic sacrifice,” he added.
More than 160 guests representing the US government, foreign diplomatic missions, business sector and the Filipino community took part in the celebration. Filipino-American tenor Allan Palacios-Chan performed the Philippine and US national anthems.
Members of the US House of Representatives Bobby Scott, co-chair of the US-Philippines Friendship Caucus, and Madeleine Bordallo focused their remarks on the contributions of Filipino-Americans to the strengthening of the social fabric of the US and on the role of the Philippines in securing peace, stability and progress for the Asia-Pacific region.
Chuasoto concluded the program by toasting to the success and prosperity of the heads of state and peoples of the Philippines and the US, and to the enduring alliance between the two countries. He was joined onstage by Scott and Bordallo, Undersecretary Shannon and US Undersecretary of Defense Theresa Whelan.