PH defense exec meets with US Secretary of the Air Force in bid to deepen alliance
Fri | April 12, 2024

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April 5, 2024 (Quezon City) – Undersecretary of National Defense Irineo C. Espino welcomed the United States Secretary of the Air Force, Hon. Frank Kendall III, to discuss the deepening alliance between the Philippines and the United States.

Undersecretary Espino expressed appreciation for the contributions of the US government to the AFP Modernization Program (AFPMP), with the arrival of the C-130 aircraft acquired from Lockheed Martin through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. The aircraft supports the AFP's humanitarian and disaster response operations, as well as bolsters the Philippine Air Force's cargo airlift fleet operations.

Moreover, Senior Undersecretary Espino acknowledged the support of the US Congress for allocating US$109M for the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) projects.

The two security officials discussed the upcoming conduct of Exercise Balikatan, which boosts the interoperability of the two countries' armed forces, as well as enhance the AFP's external defense operations. This year's iteration of the Balikatan is the largest exercise to date, with the participation of over 11,000 US troops and 5,000 Filipino troops, while 14 countries will be joining as observers.

They also reaffirmed the Philippines-US commitment to protecting and maintaining the international rules-based order in the West Philippine Sea.

Accompanying Hon. Kendall were H.E. MaryKay L. Carlson, US Ambassador to the Philippines; General David W. Allvin, Chief of Staff of the Air Force; and Chief Master Sergeant David A. Flosi, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.

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