MANILA — Adm. Philip Davidson, Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Philippine Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, led the 2019 Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, on Sept.13.
The Mutual Defense Board, which was started in 1958, and the Security Engagement Board, which was started in 2006, act as the central forum for the U.S. and Philippine armed forces to coordinate and plan military activities for the year ahead.
“Today, we addressed regional security challenges together as friends, allies, and partners,” said Adm. Davidson. “We will continue to stand together on the foundation of common interests and values. Our national security, including economic security, is reliant on a free and open Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.”
At the MDB-SEB, the U.S. and the Philippines reaffirmed their continuing and close relationship by enhancing cooperation in counterterrorism, maritime security, cyber security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and many others.
At the conclusion of the event, Gen. Madrigal was presented with the Legion of Merit for his outstanding contributions to the U.S.-Philippine alliance. The Legion of Merit is the highest U.S. military decoration that may be awarded to foreign military personnel.
“The enhancement of our defense cooperation is the only way for us to move forward and be prepared for the challenges of this ever-evolving world,” said Gen. Madrigal.
This year’s meeting resulted in more than 300 planned security cooperation activities for 2020, as compared to 281 from 2019.
While in the Philippines, Adm. Davidson also traveled to Puerto Princesa in the province of Palawan to receive a command brief and tour from Philippine Vice Adm. Rene V. Medina, commander of Western Command. Adm. Davidson also traveled to the historic island of Corregidor.