U.S. Navy destroyer makes port call in Subic
MANILA, Philippines – The US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, arrived in Subic Bay in Zambales on Saturday, April 1, for minor repairs.
The brief port call "highlights the strong community and military connections between the Philippines and the United States," the US Embassy said in a statement on Saturday.
"The ship’s crew will use the stop to conduct some minor repairs with the assistance of Philippine companies," it added.
The USS Fitzgerald is forward-deployed to the US 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the US embassy said.
It was in Manila in November 2015, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting attended by then US President Barack Obama.
The US warship arrived at the former US naval base in Subic as the Philippine and US militaries prepared for the first Balikatan war games under President Rodrigo Duterte, whose foreign policy places emphasis on forging stronger ties with countries like China and Russia.
The Balikatan is the biggest of dozens of joint activities between the two allies bound by a Mutual Defense Treaty. Duterte previously threatened to scrap the annual joint military exercises, but was prevailed upon to do otherwise. He imposed limitations on the war games instead.
Despite verbal attacks against the US and Obama early in his term, Duterte has said that the Philippines will continue fostering strong ties with the superpower, the Philippines' oldest and most powerful ally. – Rappler.com