United States (US) President Barack Obama’s visit to the country late this month will showcase the intimacy of the US with the Philippines and serve to draw the two nations even closer, a Malacañang official said over the weekend.
On Friday, Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Cuisia announced that the visit would take place from April 28 to 29. This is the first visit of a US President to the Philippines in 11 years after President George W. Bush’s trip in October 2003.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. noted that the visit is an opportune time for the Philippines to further strengthen its ties with the country’s long-time ally.
“Ang nakatakdang pagdalaw ni Pangulong Barack Obama ay magsisilbing magandang pagkakataon para palakasin at gawing higit na matibay pa ang masinsin na pakikipag-ugnayan ng Pilipinas sa Estados Unidos [The scheduled visit of President Barack Obama will serve as a good opportunity to strengthen further the good relationship between the Philippines and the United States],” Coloma said over government radio dzRB.
He added that the United States is a valuable partner of the Philippines in defense and security. It is also an indispensable economic, livelihood and business partner, Coloma added.
He said Filipinos and Americans see that the visit will further boost friendship between the two countries.
“At maraming dekada na ang pakikipagkaibigan ng mga Pilipino at Amerikano kaya’t umaasa po tayo na ang darating na pagdalaw ni Pangulong Barack Obama ay higit pang magpapatibay at magpapalakas sa pagkakaibigan at pakikipag-ugnayan ng dalawang bansa sa isa’t isa [The friendship between Filipinos and Americans spans decades, which is why we are expecting that President Barack Obama’s visit will further strengthen the friendship between the two countries]” Coloma added.
Obama will be on a weeklong Asian tour that includes Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines later this month.
His visit to the region is expected to reassure Asian allies at odds with China, such as Japan and the Philippines, of American support amid long unresolved territorial conflicts and disputes.