Exchange of Toasts with President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines
The State Dining Room
The White House
May 19, 2003
8:33 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: Madam President, Attorney Arroyo, it is a high honor for Laura
and me to host you at the White House. Madam President, I know you attended
college here in Washington, so perhaps I should say, welcome back -- or, as
they say at Georgetown, Hoya Saxa. (Laughter.)
With your visit, the Philippines and the United States affirm our strong
friendship, our common commitment the fighting terror, and our shared determination
to promote freedom.
Our nations are natural partners. We are connected by an ocean, united by
a shared history, and sustained by the bonds of family and culture. More
than 2 million Americans have family ties to the Philippines. Some are with
us tonight, and you're welcome. Filipino Americans strengthen America's culture,
our economy, and our government. And we are privileged that they call this
country their home.
The United States and the Philippines are also joined by common values,
especially the value of human freedom. And when freedom comes under attack,
our countries respond.
Madam President, you've been a fierce fighter of terrorism in your own country.
You've earned the respect of the American people for your resolve. And after
September the 11th, you were one of the first leaders to contact me and express
your strong support for the war against terror. And you have not wavered.
The President was also a strong and persuasive voice on the need to disarm
Saddam Hussein and to liberate the Iraqi people.
Madam President, for your leadership and for your friendship, I thank you.
Seventeen years ago, the Filipino people restored their nation's democratic
tradition and inspired lovers of freedom across the globe. In the years since,
the Philippines has emerged as a stronger and more confident nation. The
Philippines is building its prosperity on the foundation of markets, and
building its future on a foundation of democracy. These commitments are opening
new opportunities for the Filipino people, and setting a hopeful example
for other nations traveling the road to freedom.
President Arroyo is playing a large role in her nation's success. Her bold
and determined leadership has opened a new chapter in the friendship between
our countries, and is responsible for revitalizing our strong alliance.
In his last poem, Jose Rizal, one of the founders of the Filipino independence,
referred to his native land as the "Pearl of the Orient Seas." More
than a century later, this "pearl" is admired the world over for
its beauty, its progress, and its wonderful people.
Madam President, it will be my pleasure to visit the Philippines later this
year, with you as my host. And Laura and I, and the American people are honored
to have you and your husband as our guests here tonight. Would you please
join me in a toast to the enduring friendship between the Philippines and
the United States.
(A toast is offered.)
PRESIDENT ARROYO: Thank you, President Bush, and Mrs. Bush. Thank you on
behalf of the 8 million Filipinos for honoring our country with this state
The bonds between our two countries run deep. We've stood side-by-side at
every crucial point in modern history. World War, the second; the cold War;
Korea; Vietnam; and now, the war against terrorism.
I visit you at a time of great change -- change in the way economies work;
change in the way wars are fought; change in the way countries organize or
disintegrate. But in two things, there must be no change -- in the way governments
treat people; and in the manner by which friends stand by each other. In
the first case, with care and justice; and in the second case, with courage
and steadfastness. In a time of crisis, friends do not ask, why; they ask,
The Philippines and America are friends. To guide our friendship in the
21st century, our meeting today was essential, so that we can develop a strategic
framework for this century based on mutual respect and mutual help. Our talks
focused on stopping terrorism, fighting poverty, and undertaking economic
reform on both sides -- meaning, offering more markets to each other, and
less resistance to mutual trade and investment.
My fundamental concern in the Philippines is the need to lick mass poverty.
Central to this concern is the task of building a strong republic -- a republic
able to keep crime and terrorism totally at bay; a republic free from vested
and corrupt interests that subvert free markets; a strong republic empowered
to execute good policy and provide essential services to all our people.
In this task, we value America as a partner, a partner in our common desire
to create the kind of world in which we want both our countries to exist
-- a world of progress and ever-widening prosperity; a world of justice,
freedom, and peace. These are within the grasp of modern economies and modern
technology, and men and women of firm resolve and goodwill.
And how do we define a man or a woman of firm resolve and goodwill? It was
once thought difficult to take a firm stand against tyranny, and nearly impossible
to cope with terrorism. Now, the world knows better, especially after March
20th. Indeed, it's not easy, but, clearly, it can be done, with fearless
leadership and iron resolve, combined with a bold strategic vision, and an
unfailing sense of justice. I'm describing President Bush.
Only a strong and steadfast partnership, such as that between our two countries,
can respond to the manifold and threats and challenges that the world working
towards freedom and prosperity must face. I hope ever more countries join
this partnership. Two are better than one. Three are harder to break. Four
and more, nothing can prevail against them.
On that note of hope for an ever-widening partnership of the good to complete
the greater task of the coalition of the willing, I invite you all to join
me in a toast for the continued success and good health of President and
Mrs. Bush, and the relations between out two countries. Mabuhay!