Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton in the Philippines

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
November 17, 2011
Philippine President Aquino With Secretary Clinton November 16, 2011

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Today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Manila to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty. The Secretary's trip to the Philippines underscores the Administration's ongoing broader efforts to reaffirm and broaden our alliances. Speaking aboard the USS Fitzgerald in Manila Bay, Secretary Clinton said:

"...As each of us can attest, our mutual defense treaty has provided for our common defense and helped to create cooperation between our countries, not only military cooperation but also political and economic, and not only between governments but most importantly between our people. That summer day in 1951 when this treaty was signed, our nations faced a very different world. Then we were united against the spread of communism. Filipino and American soldiers had fought side by side in World War II not long before, and this treaty was a testament that we stood united against the challenges of a dangerous world. Our hope was that we could pursue the peace together. And that common devotion to peace has sustained our alliance through the years.

"Well, today we meet in a new era where we face new challenges but also where we confront new opportunities. So we must ensure that this alliance remains strong, capable of delivering results for the people of the Philippines, the United States, and our neighbors throughout the Asia Pacific. We are now updating our alliance and all of our alliances in the region with three guidelines in mind. First, we are working to ensure that the core objectives of our alliances have the political support of our people. Second, we want our alliances to be nimble, adaptive, flexible so they can continue to deliver results in this new world. And third, we are making sure that our collective defense capabilities and communications infrastructure are operationally and materially capable of deterring provocation from the full spectrum of state and non-state actors."

While in the Philippines, Secretary Clinton also attended a luncheon hosted by President Benigno Aquino and met with Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario. President Aquino conferred upon Secretary Clinton the Order of Lakandula for "deepening and broadening the engagement between United States and the Philippines."

Secretary Clinton and Philippine officials also participated in a signing ceremony to launch the implementation phase of the Partnership for Growth (PFG) with the Philippines. The five-year program is a signature inter-agency effort of President Barack Obama's Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, which elevates economic growth in countries committed to good governance as a core priority for U.S development efforts. The PFG aligns with policy reform areas outlined by President Benigno S. Aquino III in the Philippine Development Plan. Secretary Clinton and Secretary del Rosario signed a Statement of Principles that reflects our governments' mutual goal to place the Philippines on a path to sustained, more inclusive economic growth, and elevate it to the ranks of high-performing emerging economies.

In addition to meetings with Philippine officials, Secretary Clinton held a social media townterview, during which she discussed a broad range of foreign policy topics with Philippine scholars.

In remarks to the press during her visit, Secretary Clinton said, "...On behalf of the American people and President Obama, I bring greetings and well wishes. For 60 years now, the alliance between the Philippines and the United States has helped keep our nations secure. And thanks to that security, both nations have made progress on many fronts. We have strengthened our democracies, developed our economies, and certainly built strong ties among our peoples. We have also helped provide stability and security throughout the Asia Pacific. And so we do have a lot to be grateful for and proud of during this anniversary year. But it's not about looking toward the past. This is about how we face the future together. And we know that we can count on the alliance to continue to keep us safe and growing stronger."

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