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24/08/2013: AFP Chief Brings Home Pentagon’s Assurances of Stronger PH-US Defense Cooperation

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-077-2013
24 August 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Emmanuel T. Bautista left for Manila on Saturday bringing with him not only the Pentagon’s assurances of stronger cooperation but also the reaffirmation of its commitment to help ensure freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea.

“The Philippines and the United States will continue to work closely together to further strengthen our alliance, particularly the ongoing efforts to improve our military capabilities,” General Bautista said at the end of his successful seven-day visit to the United States.

The visit was highlighted by the meeting between General Bautista and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon on Friday that resulted in the issuance of a joint declaration between the two military leaders.

In their joint statement, issued more than a week after Manila and Washington started negotiations on increased rotational presence and access arrangements, General Bautista and General Dempsey reaffirmed each country’s obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty.

“We are determined to continue our bilateral military cooperation as part of the greater whole-of-nation approach to address broad regional and global challenges, including maritime security and threats to regional security,” the two generals said.

"We share a common interest in maintaining freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, and transit of people and goods across the seas."

"We resolve to... strengthen the Southeast Asia security environment in a manner that protects the interests of all who value unimpeded commerce transiting through the maritime domain, while deterring those who would restrict it or act in a manner that might place it at risk," the two generals said in their joint statement where they also called for a "rules-based approach in resolving competing claims in maritime areas by peaceful means -- within the framework of international law."

"We expect a robust, balanced, and responsive security partnership manifested in mutually beneficial bilateral military training, exercises and operations, provided by an increased rotational and temporary presence of US military forces operating from Armed Forces of the Philippines-controlled facilities," their statement said.

General Bautista’s visit to the US came a few days after Philippine and US diplomats began talks in Manila on arrangements that would allow the temporary deployments of more US forces and military assets in the Philippines. The negotiations will resume in Washington next week.

Capt. Elson Aguilar, Defense and Armed Forces Attache at the Philippine Embassy, said that General Bautista’s visit from 18 to 24 August was upon the invitation of General Dempsey.

Before his Pentagon meeting, General Bautista visited the headquarters of the US Army I Corps at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington where he met with its commanding general, Lt. Gen. Robert Brown.

General Bautista also visited the headquarters of the 1st Special Forces Group led by its deputy commander, Col. Maxey Carpenter before proceeding to Naval Base Coronado in San Diego where he met with Vice Admiral Kenneth Floyd, commander of the Third Fleet. He was invited to board a littoral combat ship, the USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), and a coastal command boat.

Captain Aguilar said General Bautista also visited the headquarters of the US Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg in North Carolina where he was received by its commander, Lt. Gen. Charles Cleveland.

He also met with Brig. Gen. James Scanlan, commander of the 440th Airlift Wing, and Col. Roy Fatur, commander of the 18th Air Support Operations Group, both of the US Air Force.

General Bautista, accompanied by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, Commanding General, Military District of Washington, also placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery.###

 

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC-173-2013
24 August 2013

Arlington Rites. Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, Commanding General, Military District of Washington, stand before the Philippine flag before wreath-laying ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery. (Philippine Embassy Photo by TSgt. Dick Richard Oliva)

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC-174-2013
24 August 2013

Arlington Rites. Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, Commanding General, Military District of Washington, stand before the Philippine flag before wreath-laying ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery. (Philippine Embassy Photo by TSgt. Dick Richard Oliva)