Sunday, April 14, 2024

PBBM, United States Lawmakers Tackle Geopolitical Issues, Economic Ties


PBBM, United States Lawmakers Tackle Geopolitical Issues, Economic Ties


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President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday discussed with the United States (US) congressional delegation, led by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the economic relations of and the geopolitical challenges faced by Manila and Washington.

Part of the Gillibrand-led delegation that paid Marcos a visit at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Tuesday afternoon were Senators Jeanne Shaheen, Roger Marshall, Mark Kelly, Cynthia Lummis, and Michael Bennet, as well as New York’s 13th congressional district Rep. Adriano Espaillat.

During the meeting, Marcos thanked the US lawmakers for spending some time to visit the Philippines.

“It is particularly important, I suppose, I could say since you have come in the middle of your rather topsy-turvy political cycle going on right now,” he told the US congressional delegation.

“I hope that the time that you will spend here will be a productive time where we are able to discuss further the situation concerning the Philippines and the geopolitical complications that we are facing presently. So, thank you once again for your visit,” Marcos added.

Gillibrand said their visit is part of the US commitment to strengthen ties, especially on economic relations.

She also stressed that the US sees the Philippines as an important ally, acknowledging the Filipinos’ contributions to America’s progress and further advancement.

“Thank you, Mr. President, for welcoming us. We are delighted to be in your beautiful country. We arrived yesterday and have been just filled with optimism and hope for the future. And we’re so grateful for our years of friendship. We’re grateful for the steadfast partnership we have economically. We’re grateful to have you as an ally,” Gillibrand said.

Gillibrand also expressed the US’ appreciation for the essential role of four million Filipinos residing and working in America, saying they are “at the forefront” of their healthcare, technology, and armed services.

She said the US is looking forward to exploring “extraordinary” opportunities with the Philippines, especially in the fields of economy, energy, rare earth minerals and commerce.

“These are important alliances for us and we want to continue to grow on that. We want to build on the trip that Secretary Romando just had here with a number of executives from our companies. So, we’re grateful for that,” Gillibrand said.

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo led a high-level mission to Manila on March 11 and 12, joined by 21 American business leaders.

Gillibrand said the US also shares a similar concern with the Philippines when it comes to China’s “aggression” in the highly contested South China Sea.

Cabinet secretaries present during the meeting were Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., National Security Adviser Eduardo Año, and Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was also in the Philippines on March 18 and 19, affirming the US is committed to and focused on dealing with the pressing issues in the Indo-Pacific, adding that its engagement with the Philippines is crucial to work on a number of challenges.

He emphasized that the alliance between the US and the Philippines is “more than rock solid.”

Marcos is set to attend the first-ever trilateral summit with US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington on April 11 to advance agenda on defense, security and economic interests. (PNA)