"The United States and the Republic of the Philippines maintain close ties stemming from the U.S. colonial period (1898-1946), the bilateral security alliance bound by the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951, and common strategic and economic interests. In the past decade, the Philippines has been one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign assistance in Southeast Asia, including both military and development aid. Many observers say that U.S. public and private support to the Philippines following Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which struck the central part of the country on November 8, 2013, bolstered the already strong bilateral relationship. Although the United States closed its military bases in the Philippines in 1992, the two sides have maintained security cooperation. Joint counterterrorism efforts, in which U.S. forces play a noncombat role, have helped to reduce Islamist terrorist threats in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago in the southern Philippines. During the past year, Washington and Manila have held discussions on the framework for an increased, non-permanent U.S. military presence in the Philippines. Since 2012, the Philippines has played a key role in the Obama Administration's 'rebalancing' of foreign policy priorities to Asia, particularly as maritime territorial disputes between China and other claimants in the South China Sea have intensified. The U.S. government has pledged greater security assistance to the Philippines as joint military exercises reorient from a domestic focus to an outward one."
CRS Report for Congress, R43498