Manila, December 8, 2020 — Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller met with Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. on December 8. While in Manila, he announced the recent transfer of Php1.4 billion ($29.3 million) in defense articles, including sniper and anti-IED equipment, to senior Philippine military officials. The visit demonstrates the longstanding and steadfast U.S. military commitment to the Philippines, the oldest U.S. treaty ally in Asia.
In meetings with Philippine counterparts, Acting Secretary Miller underscored the importance of the U.S.-Philippine alliance to national and regional security, and discussed opportunities for greater bilateral security cooperation to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region. He also highlighted the more than Php1.1 billion ($23.4 million) in U.S. COVID-19 assistance and disaster relief for recent typhoon victims, as well as ongoing U.S. support for Philippine counterterrorism and maritime security efforts.
During his visit, Acting Secretary Miller announced the December 2 turnover of defense equipment transferred to several special mission units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to support the AFP’s modernization goals. The new equipment will strengthen the AFP’s joint precision strike, sniper, riverine, and counter-improvised explosive device capabilities.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to visit the Philippines, the United States’ oldest treaty ally in Asia. It was an honor to meet with Secretary Lorenzana and Secretary Loscin to discuss deepening our alliance and supporting a free and open South China Sea and Indo-Pacific region,” said Acting Secretary of Defense Miller.
“We are grateful for the support provided by the United States as we continuously work on the enhancement of the Philippines’ defense capabilities,” said Secretary Lorenzana of the visit. “The modernization of the AFP will ultimately allow us to respond more effectively to both traditional and non-traditional security threats to our maritime nation.”
Acting Secretary Miller’s visit followed the November 25 visit of U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett and handover to the Philippine Navy of a ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System, as well as U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien’s November 22-23 visit, during which he announced Php868 million ($18 million) in supplementary military equipment and training for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The Philippines is by far the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region. Since 2015, the United States has delivered more than Php33 billion ($650 million) worth of planes, ships, armored vehicles, small arms, and other military equipment to the Philippines, while training side-by-side with our Filipino allies.