Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg at the Commemorative Ceremony of the 70th Anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings

Remarks by
U.S. Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg
at the
Commemorative Ceremony
70th Anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings 

Macarthur Memorial Park, Palo, Leyte
October 20, 2014

 

President Aquino; 

Distinguished representatives of the Government and Armed Forces of the Philippines; 

Governor Petilla and other officials of the Leyte Provincial Government; 

To the veterans here today; 

To my fellow ambassadors and distinguished colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps; 

Honored guests, ladies and gentlemen…

I am very honored to speak to you all at this historic location.  Seventy years ago today, General Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines with Allied soldiers to begin a campaign to liberate this beautiful country, and to fight for freedom.

When we look at images from that day of the brave soldiers coming ashore, not knowing what lay ahead, we reflect on the rich history of our alliance.  The United States and the Philippines are bound by a deep and abiding friendship forged by a history of shared sacrifice and of common purpose. The many Filipinos who bravely served side-by-side with American servicemen and women during World War II and the veterans of our two nations buried at the Manila American Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio and the Clark Cemetery bear testament to our profound and enduring bonds. These bonds are enriched by the presence in the United States of over four million Filipinos and Filipino Americans, and in the Philippines by more than 350,000 Americans who help shape the political and economic future of both countries.  

At this very place in October 1945, General MacArthur and General Sutherland stood shoulder-to-shoulder with President Osmeña and General Romulo.  American and Filipino patriots worked together to achieve what may have at times appeared impossible, to turn the tides of a war.  But through our partnership, we succeeded. Together we fought for liberation and together we prevailed.

The images of that day still inspire us and serve as a reminder of our enduring friendship, as do the words of General MacArthur from seventy years ago.  We just heard David Valley deliver the General’s historic speech from Red Beach.  In that address, General MacArthur said, “We have come, dedicated and committed.” and it is these words that embody the strong partnership that exists between the Philippines and the United States.

Over the past seven decades, the United States has not wavered in our dedication and commitment to the Philippines.  Our resolve to work together through good times and bad is a testament to the friendship our two countries share.  

In just a few weeks, the world will mark the one year anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda, that brought so much suffering to the people of Leyte and the Central Visayas.  The United States was the first nation to respond following that disaster.  Our fast-acting bilateral teamwork was possible because of our Visiting Forces Agreement.  The VFA provides an important framework for partnership and cooperation between our two militaries.  It allows U.S. service members to engage in bilateral training exercises that enhance cooperation between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. forces, especially when responding to natural disasters.  The VFA enabled the U.S. military to respond quickly, in the first few hours after the storm, to deliver lifesaving emergency assistance to people whose lives were devastated by the typhoon. 

Since last November, the United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of Defense has provided assistance worth more than six point four billion pesos (PHP 6,425,217,370 or US $143 million) to help those affected by Typhoon Yolanda to rebuild their lives.  

We are one of the largest bilateral donors to support post typhoon recovery efforts.  Whether this was temporary assistance with food, water and shelter, or long-term assistance with building new weather-resistant school and health buildings, training emergency responders, or integrating disaster preparedness into local school curriculum, the United States remains dedicated to the Philippines.

As President Obama said during his recent visit, America’s commitment to the Philippines is “ironclad” and unmistakably embodied in the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, a pillar of our relationship and a source of stability in the region for 63 years. 

We are continually renewing and expanding upon our partnership.  This year, the Philippine and United States governments signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which will provide our countries’ service members additional opportunities to train side-by-side, assist in modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines by building or upgrading Philippine facilities, and expand our cooperation in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.

As I look ahead, I know we will be faced with challenges and uncertainties.  

But when we examine our shared history and our shared victories, when we consider the values that underlie our relationship – courage, mutual respect, and freedom – there can be no doubt, that by working together, we will meet any challenge, no matter how great. 

Thank you for allowing me to speak here today and a special thank you to all service members, past and present.  It is because of your sacrifices that we enjoy the comforts of freedom.   

Maraming salamat at Magandang araw po!

President Aquino;

Distinguished representatives of the Government and Armed Forces of the Philippines; 

Governor Petilla and other officials of the Leyte Provincial Government; 

To the veterans here today; 

To my fellow ambassadors and distinguished colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps; 

Honored guests, ladies and gentlemen…

I am very honored to speak to you all at this historic location.  Seventy years ago today, General Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines with Allied soldiers to begin a campaign to liberate this beautiful country, and to fight for freedom.

When we look at images from that day of the brave soldiers coming ashore, not knowing what lay ahead, we reflect on the rich history of our alliance. The United States and the Philippines are bound by a deep and abiding friendship forged by a history of shared sacrifice and of common purpose. The many Filipinos who bravely served side-by-side with American servicemen and women during World War II and the veterans of our two nations buried at the Manila American Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio and the Clark Cemetery bear testament to our profound and enduring bonds. These bonds are enriched by the presence in the United States of over four million Filipinos and Filipino Americans, and in the Philippines by more than 350,000 Americans who help shape the political and economic future of both countries.  

At this very place in October 1945, General MacArthur and General Sutherland stood shoulder-to-shoulder with President Osmeña and General Romulo.  American and Filipino patriots worked together to achieve what may have at times appeared impossible, to turn the tides of a war.  But through our partnership, we succeeded. Together we fought for liberation and together we prevailed.

The images of that day still inspire us and serve as a reminder of our enduring friendship, as do the words of General MacArthur from seventy years ago.  We just heard David Valley deliver the General’s historic speech from Red Beach.  In that address, General MacArthur said, “We have come, dedicated and committed.” and it is these words that embody the strong partnership that exists between the Philippines and the United States.

Over the past seven decades, the United States has not wavered in our dedication and commitment to the Philippines.  Our resolve to work together through good times and bad is a testament to the friendship our two countries share.  

In just a few weeks, the world will mark the one year anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda, that brought so much suffering to the people of Leyte and the Central Visayas.  The United States was the first nation to respond following that disaster.  Our fast-acting bilateral teamwork was possible because of our Visiting Forces Agreement.  The VFA provides an important framework for partnership and cooperation between our two militaries.  It allows U.S. service members to engage in bilateral training exercises that enhance cooperation between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. forces, especially when responding to natural disasters.  The VFA enabled the U.S. military to respond quickly, in the first few hours after the storm, to deliver lifesaving emergency assistance to people whose lives were devastated by the typhoon. 

Since last November, the United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of Defense has provided assistance worth more than six point four billion pesos (PHP 6,425,217,370 or US $143 million) to help those affected by Typhoon Yolanda to rebuild their lives.  We are one of the largest bilateral donors to support post typhoon recovery efforts.  Whether this was temporary assistance with food, water and shelter, or long-term assistance with building new weather-resistant school and health buildings, training emergency responders, or integrating disaster preparedness into local school curriculum, the United States remains dedicated to the Philippines.

As President Obama said during his recent visit, America’s commitment to the Philippines is “ironclad” and unmistakably embodied in the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, a pillar of our relationship and a source of stability in the region for 63 years. 

We are continually renewing and expanding upon our partnership.  This year, the Philippine and United States governments signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which will provide our countries’ service members additional opportunities to train side-by-side, assist in modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines by building or upgrading Philippine facilities, and expand our cooperation in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.

As I look ahead, I know we will be faced with challenges and uncertainties.  

But when we examine our shared history and our shared victories, when we consider the values that underlie our relationship – courage, mutual respect, and freedom – there can be no doubt, that by working together, we will meet any challenge, no matter how great. 

Thank you for allowing me to speak here today and a special thank you to all service members, past and present.  It is because of your sacrifices that we enjoy the comforts of freedom.   

Maraming salamat at Magandang araw po!