Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has expressed his appreciation to the United States government’s support for the country’s efforts in containing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lorenzana personally thanked US Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava during their introductory meeting where he also officially welcomed the US official to the Philippines on September 28.

“The SND (Secretary of National Defense) expressed his appreciation for the US Government’s support to the Philippine Government’s efforts in addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, particularly in facilitating the continued delivery of vaccines in support to the Philippines’ national immunization program,” Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement Tuesday night.

Both sides also reaffirmed their commitment to the Philippines-US alliance through the Mutual Defense Treaty.

“CDA Variava emphasized that both countries enjoy deep and long-standing bonds, with the alliance at the center of the US’ relationship with the Philippines,” Andolong added.

During the meeting, both sides exchanged views on recent developments in the region and covered discussions on how to further enhance the cooperation between the Philippines and the US.

“They also discussed updates on upcoming bilateral defense activities, logistics cooperation, particularly on the capability upgrades of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the way ahead for the Philippines-US defense relations,” Andolong said.

The meeting with Variava was Lorenzana’s first official face-to-face engagement after completing his 14-day mandatory quarantine from his official travel to the US early this month. 

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