Marcos tells Blinken: Mutual Defense Treaty with US is in 'constant evolution'

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2022 10:47 AM | Updated as of Aug 06 2022 11:33 AM

Marcos told Blinken that Manila’s relationship with Washington remains 'important' given the regional and global tensions. MPC pool
Marcos told Blinken that Manila’s relationship with Washington remains 'important' given the regional and global tensions. MPC pool

Blinken assures: US committed to keeping Mutual Defense Treaty with Philippines

MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Saturday said the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States is in “constant evolution”, because of the two countries' long history and deep relationship.

“The Mutual Defense Treaty is in constant evolution. I’d like to think of it,” Marcos told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is in the Philippines for an official visit.

“We can no longer isolate one part of our relationship from the other. We are too closely tied because of the special relationship between the United States and the Philippines and the history we share, and all the assistance and help and support that we have received from the US over the years.

“They can no longer be categorized as one thing or another because they cover such a large scope.”

Marcos said a "volatile" international diplomatic scene — with the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and China-Taiwan tensions — highlights "the importance of the relationship between the United States and the Philippines."

“I hope that we will continue to evolve that relationship in the face of all the changes that we have been seeing and the changes between bilateral relation between us and the United States,” the President said.

Meanwhile, Blinken assured Marcos that the world’s largest economy and military power is committed to keeping its Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines.

“The alliance is strong … We’re committed to the Mutual Defense Treaty,” Blinken said.

“We’re committed to working with you on shared challenges but I think what is so striking to me is we are working together on bilateral issues between us, we are working together in the region, and increasingly, we are working globally because so many of the challenges we face are a global issue.”

Former President Rodrigo Duterte had threatened to cancel the Visiting Forces Agreement, which governs the conduct of American soldiers in the Philippines, after the United States canceled the visa of his ally, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa.

Duterte eventually kept the defense pact in place as Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea continued throughout his administration.

The US State Secretary added that the Philippines-US relationship is “quite extraordinary because it is really founded in friendship.”

“It’s forged as well in partnership and it’s strengthened by the fact that it is an alliance as well,” Blinken said.

“The people to people ties between us are almost unique and it is something that we tremendously value in the United States just as I know that you do here.”

Marcos told Blinken that he is glad that Washington’s top diplomat could come and visit the Philippines.

“Unfortunately with your crushing schedule, I don’t know if you can do any actual visiting,” Marcos said in jest.

After his meeting in Malacañang, Blinken is set to meet Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, travel to a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the capital city, participate in a clean energy fair in Makati, and visit the employees of the US Embassy in Manila.

Bliken is expected to travel to other Southeast Asian and African countries as part of his tour to strengthen the United States’ ties with its allies and partner nations.