MANILA – The Philippines and the United States are in the process of assessing how they could improve capabilities and coordination in multiple spheres encompassing military, political and economic, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Sunday.
President Marcos made the remarks when asked by the media during an interview about US fresh commitment in terms of helping the Philippines in securing peace in the West Philippine Sea after visiting the United States Indo-Pacific Command (Indopacom) in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“Well, again, it’s a process. We are in the middle of many assessments, many discussions kung (on) how we can improve our capabilities, how we can improve our coordination with the US, not only in the military, but also the political leadership,” he said.
“That encompasses not only security concerns, but also economic concerns because the thinking in this day is that you cannot be strong and you cannot be able to defend yourself if you are economically weak,” he pointed out.
Both sides are working based on that premise, he said, noting that when security is discussed, commitment on the economy, investments, public private partnership (PPP) also come into play.
He particularly mentioned his recent attendance to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in San Francisco, California, which he said was dominated by discussions on technology.
“Karamihan ‘yung meeting namin (Mostly, our meeting) was about technology and with tech companies. Bagay kasi nandyan ka na (It’s a thing because it’s already there). San Francisco, Silicon Valley is just nearby. So we were able to do that,” he told reporters.
“We were able to come to terms on some significant projects, programs that we would like to undertake in the Philippines. We talk about it so much about digitalization, about cybersecurity. And we made a lot of progress on this trip to make that part, that sector of our economy, that sector of our country a better one, a stronger one and a safer one,” he added.
Prior to the interview, the President visited the United States Indopacom Headquarters where he was briefed on the regional situation and security objectives of the US and the Philippines.
Admiral John Aquilino, Indopacom commander, provided the President a restricted briefing on the state of the Indo-Pacific, the US Indo-Pacific Strategy and the corresponding role of the Indopacom, and the capabilities that the US can provide to the Philippines in support of common security objectives.
Marcos, who flies home to Manila Sunday, is on a working visit to Honolulu following his attendance at the APEC meeting in San Francisco. (Presidential News Desk)