MANILA – Outgoing United States Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires John Law said he believes that there is nowhere to go but up for the security alliance and cooperation between the US and the Philippines.
“I am confident that our security alliance and our cooperative partnership will continue to thrive in the years to come, and that our countries will grow ever more secure and prosperous. My optimism is rooted in something far more profound and lasting than our shared political and economic interests; it springs from the hearts of our two peoples,” Law said in a September 7 op-ed posted on the US Embassy website.
More than allies, the diplomat described the American and Filipino people as “friends and family” with a history that stretches back more than a century and ties that are “refreshed each day.”
On the ongoing battle against the coronavirus, Law assured that the US would continue to help Manila overcome the pandemic through donations of vaccines, medical equipment, and public health assistance.
The US has donated more than 13 million doses of vaccine to the country through the COVAX Facility and “millions more” are set to arrive.
“Millions more will come; the Philippines will receive 44 million vaccine doses from COVAX. I am heartened by each delivery of these life-saving vaccines, which are saving lives and bolstering confidence that together, we will overcome this terrible pandemic,” he said.
Law noted that the two nations have also been engaging in different areas of cooperation, including the promotion of economic and environmental sustainability of the West Philippine Sea.
Over the past years, he said, its “Fish Right Program” has advanced best-practice fishery and maritime resource management and even helped curtail illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in Philippine waters.
“Together we are supporting innovative approaches to reduce ocean pollution; protect sensitive marine environmental areas; and strengthen international maritime scientific research,” he said, adding that a strong maritime presence in the region is “much more than traditional security.”
Meanwhile, Law conveyed Washington DC’s appreciation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to restore the Visiting Forces Agreement.
“We believe our alliance strengthens both countries’ operational readiness, deters conflict, and defends a peaceful, stable, rules-based order throughout the region,” he said. “The recent visits by our Defense Secretary and the Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command highlight our unwavering commitment to our oldest treaty ally in the region.”
As he leaves the country for his next post, Law said he “consider(s) with hope the future of our bilateral relationship.”
Law has served as chargé d’ affaires since he arrived in Manila in September 2018. (PNA)