New US envoy: Philippines ‘cornerstone of security’ in Asia Pacific

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The alliance of the United States and the Philippines has been the “cornerstone of security” in the Asia Pacific region, newly installed US Ambassador to Manila Philip Goldberg said.

In a statement shortly after he presented his credentials to President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday, Goldberg highlighted the strong and deep relationship between Washington and Manila, which has been manifested by the relief operations provided by American soldiers in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

Goldberg commended the devotion of both Americans and Filipinos in rushing to help those in need after the super typhoon flattened parts of Leyte and Samar provinces, particularly Tacloban City.

“This cooperation in the selfless service of others truly represents the best of our two nations. I am confident that with strength and resilience, the people touched by this tragedy will soon rebuild their lives,” Goldberg said.


“And the United States will be there to help them along the way,” he added.

Goldberg also mentioned that Filipinos and Americans fought side-by-side during the World War II and “subsequent conflicts to defend our shared values.”

Some four million Filipino-Americans live in the United States, while there are 350,000 Americans in the Philippines.

Goldberg noted that relations between Manila and Washington will only add fuel to a future “that is bright with promise and potential.”

He promised to maintain the close relationship of the two nations “on regional security, counterterrorism, and in combating transnational crime, including the scourge of trafficking in persons.”

Goldberg added that the Philippine and US militaries will also continue working together on disaster relief, peacekeeping, defense form and human rights. He also mentioned cooperation in the field of maritime security, a sore spot in the Philippines’ political and territorial security because of China’s increasingly aggressive actions in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea.

The region, believed to hold vast amounts of oil and mineral deposits, is being claimed in whole by China, and in part by the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.

Goldberg also noted that Manila must continue leading the 10-member bloc Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in promoting democracy and human rights in one of the world’s most dynamic regional organizations.

The Philippines is a founding member of Asean, which groups Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Brunei Darussalam.

Goldberg pledged the US’ support to make the Philippines more competitive in the world market “by promoting open markets, protecting intellectual property rights, and fighting corruption.”

Goldberg is especially “proud” that the United States is one of the largest development grant donors, as well as one of the largest investors and trading partners to the Philippines.

In the relief operations for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda alone, Washington was the first country to send a contingency of military personnel and equipment to aid in search and rescue missions, as well as to provide emergency relief packs to the victims.

Goldberg arrived in Manila on Monday last week after US President Barack Obama rushed his appointment papers supposedly to oversee and augment US relief operations in Eastern Visayas,

BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON

 

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