Nagbilang! US lists down how it helped Duterte in his first 3 years
The Philippines-United States relations reached numerous milestones in the past three years, Ambassador Sung Kim said during the celebration of the 243rd anniversary of US Independence and the two nations’ Friendship Day on Wednesday.
Under the term of US President Donald Trump and President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who marked his third year in office last Saturday, the historic Balangiga Bells was returned to the Philippines.
In 2017, the US was also able to work with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in ending the terror siege in Marawi.
In the same year, Kim said the Philippines chaired the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit where Trump had a “wonderful visit” to Manila.
“So many great things happened in our relationship and I remain very optimistic about the future of the Philippines-US relationship,” he said in a speech in Makati City.
“We have shared values, we have shared history, we have shared culture, common interests, and most importantly, the warmth and mutual affection and respect with the Philippines remain very strong, and I think that friendship will carry our partnership and alliance into the future,” he added.
In a speech, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. agreed that the Philippines and US ties will “endure” as he cites the two states’ commonalities despite their sharp differences.
“We both hate subservience to foreign powers. We cannot imagine living without total freedom in word, in thought, and in deed,” he said. There are close security ties between Washington and Manila as manifested by the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty which serves as the foundation to the latter’s only defense alliance.
Aside from security, strong people-to-people ties bind the two nations, with the estimated four million American citizens of Philippine ancestry in the US, and more than 220,000 US citizens living in the Philippines.
A multitude of people-to-people programs is also in place in the country, including the Fulbright, International Visitor Leadership Program, and the Kenney-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program.
Over the last decade, Washington has also allocated a large sum of money to fund its assistance efforts in the Philippines. The US has provided over USD143 million in assistance to the Philippines in relief and recovery efforts after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated the country in 2013.
Its long-term reconstruction and rebuilding efforts in Mindanao are also continuous, with Washington already contributing about USD26.4 million to support humanitarian relief in Marawi as of July 2018 alone.
On economic ties, bilateral trade between the two states reached over USD27 billion in goods and services in 2016.
The US is also one of the largest foreign investors in the Philippines and the country’s third-largest trading partner as of 2018. (PNA)