US stresses alliance with PHL in turn-over of $18M worth of precision-guided weapons

Trump’s Nat’l Security Advisor says US welcomes Duterte’s extension of VFA

U.S. National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien visits the Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020 to turn over some $18 million worth of high-tech defense equipment for the Philippines’ counter-terrorism fight. (Photo courtesy DFA)


(Eagle News) — US President Donald Trump’s national security advisor Robert O’Brien visited the country Monday, Nov. 23, to assure the continuing commitment of the United States to its alliance with the Philippines as he turned over some $18 million worth of precision guided munitions (PGMs) and other defense articles as a symbol of that commitment.

The PGMs, also known as smart bombs, can hit targets more precisely, and can improve the Philippine defense arsenal, officials said.

“This transfer underscores our strong and enduring commitment to our critical alliance,” said O’Brien during the ceremonial turn over of the defense articles at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr., together with National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the Undersecretary for Policy, and National Defense Assistant Secretary Teodoro Cirilo T. Torralba III, met with the U.S. National Security Advisor at the DFA where the defense equipment was also turned over.

Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr.,
warmly welcomes US National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien upon arrival at the Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (Photo courtesy DFA)

The senior officials renewed their respective Governments’ commitment to the Philippine – United States alliance, which is “founded on shared history, values, and friendship. They discussed ways to strengthen the already robust defense and security cooperation between the two countries, given the political and security climate in the Asia Pacific region,” the DFA said.

-Fulfillment of Trump’s promise to Duterte-

Locsin said that the delivery of the munitions was “the fulfillment of a promise made by US President Donald J. Trump to President Duterte during their phone call in April.”

He symbolically received the defense articles which included the PGMs.

US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien
symbolically turns over defense articles to Foreign Affairs Secretary
Teodoro Locsin Jr., @teddyboylocsin
which were donated by US government to the Philippine government on Nov. 23, 2020 (Photo courtesy DFA)

“We look forward to training on the use of these weapons with the best and undisputed military power in the world. The only one in history selflessly dedicated to the freedom and independence of other countries wherever threatened in the world”, Locsin said.

“This gesture reflects our strategic alignment of interest and our shared aspirations for enduring peace and stability for both our countries and the greater region,” he added.

O’Brien said that it was an “honor” for him to be in the country to turn over the defense equipment that had been promized way back in April during the initial conversation between Trump and Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte.  This is part of the commitment of the US to help the Philippine government fight terrorism in the country, he said.

O’Brien also “gave assurances that the U.S. Government will give high priority to the Philippines in accessing a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is made available by U.S. pharmaceutical companies,” the DFA said.

Among other witnesses during the turnover ceremony were Undersecretary for National Defense Cardozo M. Luna; National Defense Assistant Secretary Jesus Rey R. Avila; National Defense Assistant Secretary Teodoro Cirilo T. Torralba III; RADM Eric Kagaoan PN; MGEN Pelagio Valenzuela PAF; Vice Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force; MGEN Gilbert F. Saret PA; Inspector General of the Philippine Army; RADM Alberto Carlos PN, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, J4, AFP; COL. Edmundo G. Peralta INF (MNSA) PA, Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, G2, PA; U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John C. Law; US Export-Import Bank President Kim Reed; and U.S. National Security Council Director Allison Hooker.

O’Brien also said that the us welcomed the decision of President Duterte to extend the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the two country.

“We look forward to the VFA continuing to facilitate our closer cooperation in combating terrorism,” he said.

(Eagle News Service)