Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and General Gilbert Gapay, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), led the 2020 Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) on October 29, held virtually for the first time due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The MDB, established in 1958, and SEB, launched in 2006, together form the annual MDB-SEB, a forum for U.S and Philippine militaries to coordinate defense and security cooperation.
At the MDB-SEB, Adm. Davidson and Gen. Gapay reaffirmed both nations’ commitment to strong bilateral security cooperation. The leaders discussed ways to enhance efforts to bolster critical maritime security and counterterrorism efforts, as well as deepening ongoing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief work.
“The United States and the Philippines remain steadfast allies in our pursuit of regional peace and stability,” said Adm. Davidson. “Our close cooperation ensures our forces are interoperable and a formidable force for stability throughout the region while further strengthening the ties that make us such close friends, allies, and partners.”
General Gapay affirmed that, “Our alliance should continue to provide the mechanism to further enhance our already robust defense cooperation by pursuing capability building initiatives for our interoperability. The AFP envisions our alliance to continue with mutually beneficial activities that will result in greater interoperability between our armed forces”
Both the U.S. and the Philippines look forward to ongoing, close cooperation in these and other areas critical to national and regional security.