PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday described his meeting with US President Barack Obama as “historic and significant” because they also sealed other forms of “partnerships,” including the building of stronger communities for victims of Typhoon Yolanda and improving the Philippines’ defense and disaster response capabilities.
“This morning, we made a promising start as we discussed how our partnership can be enhanced through building climate-resilient communities,” Aquino said.
These communities, to be built in areas devastated by the super typhoon, will not only withstand disasters but foster inclusive growth across the entire country.
The disaster in Central Visayas, Aquino noted, showed the whole world how vulnerable the Philippines, as well as other developing countries, is to natural disasters.
“As such, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response is an essential component of our cooperation. As the United States and the American people have always been ready to support us in the aftermath of disasters, so too do we look forward to the continued cooperation of the United States and the rest of our partners in the international community, as we undertake the task of building back better the communities affected by Typhoon [Yolanda],” the President said.
“President Obama and I recognize the importance of strong economic engagement for the continued growth of both the Philippines and the United States,” Aquino added.
He thanked Obama for the continued support of the US to the Philippine government’s programs under the Partnership for Growth framework, which enhances the policy environment for economic growth through the $145-million total planned contribution from the US Agency for International Development.
US support is also coursed through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which supports the implementation of projects in road infrastructure, poverty reduction and good governance.
“We welcome the substantive agreement between our countries on the terms and concessions for the US to support the Philippines’ request for the extension of special treatment for our rice imports until 2017,” Aquino said.
He and Obama also discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a high-standard trade arrangement that will shape global and regional economic architecture in the 21st century. Aquino said the Philippines is working to ascertain how participation in TPP can be realized.