Secretary of State
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of the Republic of the Philippines as you celebrate the anniversary of your nation’s independence on June 12.
My personal appreciation for your nation reaches far back into my own family tree: a century ago, my grandfather’s cousin, William Cameron Forbes, served as Governor-General of the Philippines. And in 1986, I came here as an observer of the historic elections that restored democracy to a people who, like all people, aspire to be free. I will never forget being in Danao and Manila and seeing thousands of people at a time in line. They were standing there in the hot sun just waiting for the privilege of voting – of having their fingers stamped in order to make democracy work.
I saw that same courage and commitment on my most recent trip to Manila and Tacloban in December. It was impossible to land in Tacloban and not feel the dramatic impact of our partnership. The devastation that Typhoon Yolanda left behind was staggering: entire communities leveled, water that rose up to the second story of an airport tower, trees split in half all the way up the mountains. But when Mother Nature brought her worst, our people brought out the best in each other. Together, we showed the deepest values that bind our nations.
The United States is proud of our rich history and enduring alliance with the Philippines. Our shared democratic values, growing trade and investment, and strong people-to-people ties will continue to unite us in the future. And as President Obama said at Malacañang Palace on April 28, we are honored and proud to call the Philippines an ally and friend.
As you celebrate from Cagayan de Oro to Calbayog to Cabanatuan, the United States stands with you as an unwavering ally, partner and friend. I wish the people of the Philippines peace and prosperity in the years to come.