Envoy sees improving US-PH ties

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Outgoing United States Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires John Law said he
believes that there is nowhere to go but up for the security alliance
and cooperation between the US and the Philippines.

“I am confident that our security alliance and our cooperative
partnership will continue to thrive in the years to come, and that our
countries will grow ever more secure and prosperous. My optimism is
rooted in something far more profound and lasting than our shared
political and economic interests; it springs from the hearts of our
two peoples,” Law said in a September 7 op-ed posted on the US Embassy
website.

More than allies, the diplomat described the American and Filipino
people as “friends and family” with a history that stretches back more
than a century and ties that are “refreshed each day.”

On the ongoing battle against the coronavirus, Law assured that the US
would continue to help Manila overcome the pandemic through donations
of vaccines, medical equipment, and public health assistance.

The US has donated more than 13 million doses of vaccine to the
country through the COVAX Facility and “millions more” are set to
arrive.

“Millions more will come; the Philippines will receive 44 million
vaccine doses from COVAX.  I am heartened by each delivery of these
life-saving vaccines, which are saving lives and bolstering confidence
that together, we will overcome this terrible pandemic,” he said.

Law noted that the two nations have also been engaging in different
areas of cooperation, including the promotion of economic and
environmental sustainability of the West Philippine Sea.

Over the past years, he said, its “Fish Right Program” has advanced
best-practice fishery and maritime resource management and even helped
curtail illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in Philippine
waters.

“Together we are supporting innovative approaches to reduce ocean
pollution; protect sensitive marine environmental areas; and
strengthen international maritime scientific research,” he said,
adding that a strong maritime presence in the region is “much more
than traditional security.”

Meanwhile, Law conveyed Washington DC’s appreciation of President
Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to restore the Visiting Forces Agreement.

“We believe our alliance strengthens both countries’ operational
readiness, deters conflict, and defends a peaceful, stable,
rules-based order throughout the region,” he said. “The recent visits
by our Defense Secretary and the Commander of the US Indo-Pacific
Command highlight our unwavering commitment to our oldest treaty ally
in the region.”

As he leaves the country for his next post, Law said he “consider(s)
with hope the future of our bilateral relationship.”

Law has served as chargé d’ affaires since he arrived in Manila in
September 2018.

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