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Immediate Release

Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Meeting With Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Pentagon Press Secretary Major General Pat Ryder provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III hosted Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the Pentagon today. 

Secretary Austin and President Marcos underscored the historic strength of the U.S.-Philippines Alliance, which both countries are expanding and modernizing in support of a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The two leaders expressed support for growing Alliance initiatives to expand interoperability.  Secretary Austin highlighted that the President's Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2025 seeks $128 million to execute 36 projects at Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites, which would more than double the amount that DoD has invested in EDCA infrastructure since the inception of the agreement.

Secretary Austin expressed his support for Philippine military modernization, highlighting the Department's strong commitment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines through this year's budget, as well as bilateral efforts to finalize a multi-year Security Sector Assistance Roadmap.

The two leaders discussed opportunities to deepen bilateral planning and operational cooperation, including increasing the frequency of combined maritime activities like joint patrols, to support the Philippines' lawful exercise of its rights in the South China Sea. They also agreed to accelerate a number of bilateral initiatives to enhance information-sharing, interoperability, and capability enhancements for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The leaders applauded the April 7 maritime cooperative activity within the Philippine exclusive economic zone with Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States — an example of the ways the two countries are working more closely with like-minded nations to strengthen shared principles, including the rule of law, freedom of the seas, and respect for territorial sovereignty.

Secretary Austin reaffirmed U.S. support of the Philippines in defending its sovereign rights and jurisdiction, and he reiterated that the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to both countries' armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft — including those of its Coast Guard — anywhere in the Pacific, including the South China Sea.

The leaders' meeting — their second at the Pentagon in less than a year — reaffirmed the United States and the Philippines' enduring commitment to stand shoulder-to-shoulder as allies to bring greater security, prosperity, and stability to the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro Jr., Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo, and Philippine National Security Advisor Eduardo M. Año also participated in today's meeting between Secretary Austin and President Marcos. Earlier today, Secretary Austin joined Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and their Philippine counterparts at the State Department to reaffirm both countries' shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and discuss ways to deepen coordination against shared challenges in the South China Sea. Today's engagements follow President Biden's bilateral meeting with President Marcos and the historic United States-Japan-Philippines trilateral leaders' summit on April 11.