PH lawmakers seek US Congress’ support for stronger defense, economic ties
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine legislators have asked for support from their counterparts in the United States (US) for stronger Manila-Washington defense and economic relations.
The Filipino lawmakers from the House of Representatives led by Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez met Tuesday (Philippine time) with US Rep. Young Kim (California-40) at the US Capitol and asked the Republican legislator, who chairs the US House foreign affairs subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific, for congressional support to strengthen the defense and economic security of the Philippines.
House leaders like Majority Leader and Zamboanga 2nd District Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe and Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. joined Romualdez in the meeting.
“We asked for the continued US congressional support for defense and economic security,” Romualdez said in a statement.
“On top of our strong military security with the United States, Rep. Kim has vowed to work with us to further strengthen and expand the country’s economic security with them. This partnership will boost productivity, drive economic growth, and generate new jobs,” he added.
According to Romualdez, having the US support the Philippines’ economic security would be a big boost for the country’s recovery from the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our strong strategic economic partnership will enhance economic cooperation that is very important for sustainable growth and development,” he said.
“We have to work together by expanding and prioritizing our investments. Fostering economic cooperation and facilitating trade are keys for long-term growth and stability,” he added.
This is not the first time that the Speaker called for stronger ties between the Philippines and the US. In August 2022, Romualdez said during the visit of US lawmakers that the long-standing relationship between Manila and Washington is only growing stronger.
Romualdez also assured US officials in October 2022 that the Philippine House of Representatives will support bilateral cooperation especially in the realm of health, security, and environment.
Romualdez’s cousin and Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, who was also present during the meeting, said that Kim was pleased to meet the Speaker, adding that the US lawmaker has plans to be in Manila by November.
“She (Rep. Kim) is very pleased to meet the Speaker (Romualdez) and the members of his delegation. She [would] like very much to continue the dialogue and plans to be in Manila and her congressional delegation sometime this November,” Ambassador Romualdez said.
“I think they want to work with our legislative branch in the Indo-Pacific Region because she is the chair of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific,” he added.
Ambassador Romualdez likewise said that over the years, the Philippines’ security ties with the US have played an important role in the stability of the Philippine economy.
“There is no doubt that our security alliance with the US played a key role, but it is clear that ensuring economic security is equally critical in order to build a resilient and inclusive economy that will strengthen both the Philippines and the United States,” he said.
“Solidifying our alliance through more trade and investments can increase commerce, empower our people and ensure a peaceful, secure, and prosperous environment for all of us,” he added.
Speaker Romualdez and his delegation is in the US for a series of meetings and workshops. On Monday, Romualdez said he attended the lecture of philanthropist Melinda French Gates, who discussed the importance of digital public infrastructure in pushing for gender empowerment.
Gates’ lecture is part of the World Bank-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings.
Also part of the delegation that met with US Rep. Kim were Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco, Agusan del Norte 1st District Rep. Jose Aquino II, House Secretary General Reginald Velasco, and House Sergeant-at-Arms Napoleon Taas.