• US envoy says goodbye, vows protection for PH

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    Goldberg

    Goldberg

    AFTER nearly two years in one of the top posts in the American foreign service, Ambassador Philip Goldberg is ending his tour of duty with an assurance that the United States will protect the Philippines from any threat.

    “Our alliance is firmly invested in protecting the prosperity, security and peace in the region and a partnership between two sovereign partners,” Goldberg said in his speech Wednesday night during the Fourth of July celebrations in Makati City.

    Goldberg is exiting as the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte makes a pivot toward China to try to settle the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) territorial disp ute, in contrast to the pro-US stance of the previous Aquino government.

    But Goldberg said the Philippines could always count on the US for help, given existing agreements such as the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

    “That alliance is based on our shared commitment to democracy, the rule of law and the peaceful settlement of disputes. As allies we stand together whenever the other is threatened and we will always continue to do so,” he said.

    The 59-year-old US envoy also said goodbye and took pride at having visited several places in the Philippines.

    “This will be my last July 4th in the Philippines so I want to say that I’ve been all around from Ilocos Norte to Tawi Tawi, from the mountains of Benguet to the tuna market in General Santos City, Mindanao,” Goldberg said.

    “I’ve seen the awe-inspiring beauty and unique character of your country, but above all, it is the warmth and the welcome of the Filipino people that I will remember most,” he said.

    Goldberg was appointed in November 2013 to succeed Harry Thomas. He will be replaced by Sung Kim, Washington’s special representative for North Korea policy and a former envoy to South Korea.

    Kim, who will be the first Asian-American appointed to the Manila post, was nominated as the new US ambassador to the Philippines by President Barack Obama in May.
    Ties between the Philippines and the US have grown closer in recent years in terms of people-to-people exchanges, economic relations and security, Goldberg said.

    But the warm ties should continue amid new challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, he said.

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    4 Comments

    1. Frank A. Tucker on

      POTUS Obama sending an American – Korean ambassador to the Philippines as the American emissary is indicative of PBH Obama’s attitude toward the Philippines, not necessarily that of the US State Dep or the American people.

      May God bless the Philippines.

    2. A Korean-American as United States Ambassador to the Philippines? Maybe someday we can see a Fil-Am as an Ambassador to South Korea in the next 100 years.

    3. Michael Delizo, the writer of the article above, is making it sound like the Philippine posting is a major posting from the perspective of the American foreign service. My take on it is this – IF the Philippines really was a major American foreign service posting, then how come nations like Egypt and Pakistan receive yearly aid amounting to tens of billions of dollars while the Philippines gets far less? I believe the US treats the Philippines like its little errand boy and the country is more than happy to oblige the Americans.

    4. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      07 July 2016

      There are those in the higher reaches of Government as well as in the mass media who doubt whether the United States can be counted on to do what it is supposed to do under the clear terms of the Mutual Defense Treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement, and the new EDCA between the United States and the Philippines.

      Outgoing US Ambassador Philip Goldberg has just given iron-clad assurances that indeed the United States can be counted on to help the Philippines under that Treaty and two Agreements.

      But, as that wise saying goes, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

      The South China Sea, the possible and even probable theater of conflict between China and the Philippines, over Philippine territory which China has grabbed illegally, will test whether Ambassador Philip Goldberg’s assurances have the full backing of the US Government
      .
      But if it is any indication of US resolve, already two Nimitz-class nuclear Aircraft Carrier Strike Forces, led by the USS John C. Stennis and the USS Ronald Reagan are already engaged in “drills” in the Philippine Sea.

      MARIANO PATALINJUG
      patalinjugmar@gmail.com