UNDER the leadership of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Tuesday vowed to work harder in expanding the Philippines and United States (US) economic security relations.
This move would further enhance trade and investment cooperation and create opportunities for sustainable growth, Speaker Romualdez said, following his congressional delegation’s meeting with a US lawmaker in Washington D.C. Tuesday dawn (Philippine time).
Speaker Romualdez met with US Representative Young Kim (California-40th congressional district), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific, at the US Capitol along with members of his delegation.
Romualdez was accompanied in the meeting by House Majority Leader Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe of Zamboanga’s 2nd District, Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. of Pampanga’s 3rd District, Navotas City Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco, Agusan del Norte 1st District Rep. Jose “Joboy” S. Aquino II, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel “Babe” del Gallego Romualdez, House Secretary General Reginald “Reggie” Velasco, and
House Sergeant-at-Arms retired PMGEN Napoleon C. Taas.
The Speaker said the meeting with Rep. Kim centered on defense and security engagement, which remain a key pillar of the Philippines-US bilateral relations.
“We asked for the continued US congressional support for defense and economic security,” he said.
“On top of our strong military security with the United States, Rep. Kim has vowed to work with us to further strengthen and expand the country’s economic security with them. This partnership will boost productivity, drive economic growth, and generate new jobs,” Speaker Romualdez said.
He announced that the delegation of Rep. Kim will visit the Philippines around November this year to further solidify their agreement to expand PH-US economic cooperation.
Speaker Romualdez recalled that in recent engagements the US has repeatedly emphasized the strategic importance of the Philippines, as well as the PH-US alliance’s vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Speaker Romualdez underscored the importance of strengthening the Philippine economy by fostering investment growth in partnership with the US for a better future for the Filipino people.
“Our strong strategic economic partnership will enhance economic cooperation that is very important for sustainable growth and development.”
For his part, Ambassador Romualdez said the fruitful meeting will help expand economic engagement to build a resilient Philippine economy.
“She (Rep. Kim) is very pleased to meet the Speaker (Romualdez) and the members of his delegation. She [would] like very much to continue the dialogue and plans to be in Manila and her congressional delegation sometime this November,” Ambassador Romualdez said.
“I think they want to work with our legislative branch in the Indo-Pacific Region because she is the chair of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific,” he added.
“There is no doubt that our security alliance with the US played a key role, but it is clear that ensuring economic security is equally critical in order to build a resilient and inclusive economy that will strengthen both the Philippines and the United States. Solidifying our alliance through more trade and investments can increase commerce, empower our people and ensure a peaceful, secure, and prosperous environment for all of us,” Ambassador Romualdez said.
Speaker Romualdez noted that economic security became a more pressing concern following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have to work together by expanding and prioritizing our investments. Fostering economic cooperation and facilitating trade are keys for long-term growth and stability,” he said.
The Speaker also made sure to ask about the status of Filipinos in Rep. Kim’s district, which includes the northern parts of Orange County. In 2018, the Filipino population in Orange County was estimated to be 89,000.
Rep. Kim was the first South Korean-born Republican woman elected to the California State Legislature.
Catherine R. Cueto