US President Joe Biden told President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., that he could not think of a better amid turbulent times than the Philippine chief executive as he welcomed him to the White House on Tuesday morning (PH time).

Biden, in his opening statement at the bilateral meeting, expressed his belief that the relationship between the two countries would need to develop further as they encounter new challenges.

“[W]hen we met in New York last year, you told me that — that a strong alliance has to continue, quote — I’m using your phrase — ‘to evolve as we face the challenges of this new century.’ And we are facing new challenges. And I can’t think of any better partner to have than you,” Biden told Marcos Jr.

The US president said Washington’s ties with the Philippines should “continue to evolve.”

“Together, we’re tackling climate change, we’re accelerating our countries’ transition to clean energy, and we’re standing up for our shared democratic values and workers’ rights and the rule of law,” Biden said.

“And together, we’re deepening our economic cooperation, which is going to continue to deepen and I think is mutually beneficial,” he added.

Biden also reaffirmed the US’ pledge to protect the Philippines including in the South China Sea dispute.

“The United States also remains ironclad in our commitment to the defense of the Philippines, including the South China Sea, and we’re going to continue to support the Philippines’ military modernization goals,” he said.

“Mr. President (Marcos Jr.), our countries not only share a strong partnership, we share a deep friendship — one that has been enriched by millions of Filipino Americans in the communities all across the United States of America,” he added. John Ezekiel J. Hirro