US Congress leaders vow support for Yolanda rehab

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The Philippines can count on the continued support of leaders of the United States Congress not only in Manila’s efforts to rehabilitate areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda but also to further strengthen the alliance between the two countries.

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This was the assurance given to Vice President Jejomar Binay during his meetings with US congressional leaders at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

“I am very glad to receive the assurances of US congressional leaders of their support for the Philippines and the enduring friendship between our countries and the Filipino and American peoples,” Binay said.

Binay is in Washington to keynote the Banyan Tree Leadership Forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

The Philippine Embassy said the Vice President, accompanied by Ambassador Jose Cuisia, Jr., held separate meetings with Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs; California Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; and Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

In their meetings, Binay reiterated the Philippine government’s appreciation for the immediate and comprehensive assistance extended by the US government to the typhoon-affected communities in Central Visayas.

He said the US legislators expressed hope for the immediate recovery of the people in the affected areas and assured him that the Philippine government could count on their support in reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.

Binay added that the US congressional leaders also assured him of their support for closer defense cooperation between the two countries and building capabilities to respond to catastrophes and natural disasters.

They also pointed to the importance of the US rebalance in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the vice president.

“Vice President Binay’s congressional meetings showed that the bipartisan support of the US for the Philippines and the Philippines-United States alliance is rooted in the US Congress, which represents the American people,” Cuisia said.

Binay was accompanied in the meetings by Rep. Abigail Binay-Campos; Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay; Edgardo Lacson, consultant on trade and finance; lawyer Martin Subido, legal counsel; and Minister for Legislative Affairs and Consul General Ariel Peñaranda.

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