US congressmen to visit PH, will discuss defense, trade cooperationBy Fat Reyes
MANILA, Philippines – A United States congressional delegation (Codel) will be visiting Manila to discuss defense and investment ties between the Philippines and the US, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday.
In its announcement, the DFA said the delegation will be led by newly selected chairman of the US House committee on foreign affairs Congressman Ed Royce. The delegation will be in the country from January 28 to 30.
Royce, who will be visiting the country for the first time, will meet with President Benigno S. Aquino III, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, and other Philippine officials and representatives from the business community.
“High on the agenda are discussions on PH-US relations, defense and trade and investment cooperation, as well as regional security issues,” the DFA said in a statement.
“We welcome the visit of Chairman Royce and the congressional delegation to the Philippines,” Del Rosario was quoted as saying in a separate statement.
“Chairman Royce is committed to a strong alliance between the Philippines and the US, and he has been a great friend of the Filipino community in the US,” Del Rosario added.
Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia, for his part, said that the inclusion of the Philippines in Royce’s first foreign trip as the chairman of the house committee on foreign affairs served as a reflection of “the value he accords to US friendship with the Philippines.”
Cuisia would be joining the Philippine officials in meetings with the US representatives, the DFA said.
The DFA also noted that Royce had reiterated his support for the “Philippines’ rules-based approach to the West Philippine Sea issue and the peaceful resolution of disputes within the framework of international law” in a meeting with Del Rosario and Cuisia last January 17.
The DFA added that the US delegation includes Ranking Member Eliot Engel, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Congressman Vern Buchanan, Congressman Matthew James “Matt” Salmon, and Congressman Thomas Anthony “Tom” Marino.