Biden celebrates ‘enduring friendship’ between Filipinos, Americans on Independence Day

©PhilSTAR Daily, Inc

(Philstar.com) – June 12, 2021 – 11:33am

MANILA, Philippines — US President Joe Biden on Independence Day extended to Filipinos the “enduring friendship” of the American people as he marked two “momentous anniversaries” between Manila and Washington.

June 12, Saturday, is the 123rd anniversary of the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain, its colonizer of over three centuries.

The US is a close ally and a former colonizer of the Philippines which was ceded to it by Spain. The global superpower continues to exert significant influence over Manila’s politics and culture.

“This year, our nations are also celebrating two momentous anniversaries. Our 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations and our 70th anniversary of our strong alliance,” Biden said in a video posted by the US Department of State on social media.

We celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations with the Philippines and the 70th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Alliance. @POTUS: “Our people are forever connected through our deep bonds and shared sacrifices of valor, of family, and of friendship.” #FriendsPartnersAllies pic.twitter.com/24FnNZq7UN

— Department of State (@StateDept) June 11, 2021

Manila and Washington established formal diplomatic relations on July 4, 1946, the same day the US recognized the Philippines as an independent and sovereign republic after decades of colonization. The Mutual Defense Treaty, which formalized the US-Philippines alliance and close security cooperation, was signed on Aug. 30, 1951.

“The Philippines and the United States share so much history and our people are forever connected through our deep bonds and shared sacrifices of valor, of family and of friendship,” Biden said.

“As we honor this joyful occasion of independence and friendship, let’s also look to the future. At the challenges our two countries must continue to work to take on together: from defeating this pandemic and strengthening global preparedness for the next one to advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific for all peoples.”

The Philippines expressed its intent to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement, which flows from the Mutual Defense Treaty, in February 2020 after the cancellation of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa’s US visa earned President Rodrigo Duterte’s ire. The abrogation, however, was also suspended twice at Duterte’s instruction.

READ: Duterte ‘still thinking’ about fate of VFA — Palace | Chinese ships in West Philippine Sea meant to pressure Duterte on VFA, expert says

Biden also celebrated the over four million Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in the US for making “invaluable contributions” to their communities. “They enrich the American character, making our nation stronger and more vibrant.”

“I hope that friendship between the Philippines and the United States will continue to be a source of strength for both our nations through all the decades ahead. I wish you all a safe and joyful celebration,” the American president said.

— Bella Perez-Rubio