Last April 28, 2014, United States President Barack Obama arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for his scheduled state visit to the country.
The Philippines was his last pit stop of his four-country tour in Asia which included Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.
The world’s “most powerful leader” was officially welcomed by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at the Malacañang Palace.
A state dinner, attended by the country’s top leaders, entertainers and dignitaries, also took place at the Palace.
The state visit, which aimed to strengthen the treaty between the United States military and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, created many speculations from various militant and activist groups.
Even before President Obama landed in the Philippines, militant groups expressed their outrage against the visit, saying that it may have hidden implications.
According to them, the visit would cause the Philippines to become a puppet the United States, and that the nation would merely fall under the foreign country’s whims and dictations.
The rallies conducted by these activist groups did not stop the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
On April 29, US President Obama visited American and Filipino troops at Fort Bonifacio and gave a speech about the bond between the armed forces of the United States and the Philippines.
Among those mentioned in the speech were Captain Roy Trinidad of the Philippine Navy SEALS, Colonel Mike Wylie of the United States Marines, and Major George Hapalisok of the United States Air Force, who worked hand-in-hand with the troops and helped the Filipinos affected by super typhoon Yolanda.
President Obama said, “This treaty means our two nations pledge…our common determination to defend themselves against external armed attacks, so that no potential aggressor could be under the illusion that either of them stands alone. In other words, our commitment to defend the Philippines is ironclad and the United States will keep that commitment, because allies never stand alone.”
Although militant groups were against the visit, there were also Filipinos who thought that this was a good step towards establishing military security.
“Maayo nuon na, para naa ta’y backer inig gyera,” one Atenean, who insisted anonymity, said.
A tricyle driver thought, “Kailangan jud nato ilang tabang, mura pud baya’g unsa kakuyaw atong army.”
While the visit’s agenda was presented to the people, there are still clashing opinions as to whether or not the United States’ plan is to truly help our country in times of military strife.