Philippines wants to further strengthen economic ties with US
The Philippines wants to go beyond security issues and is now seeking to intensify economic cooperation with the United States, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the DFA said this was conveyed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano to Republican Senator Cori Gardner during his official visit to Washington.
Manila's move to strengthen economic ties with Washington came as President Rodrigo Duterte said this week that he would be "friendly" now with America, a complete turn around from his pronouncement last year that he wanted the Philippines to distance from the US.
Duterte became irked with the US after former President Barack Obama and the State Department criticized his administration's bloody war on drugs.
"For so long, it was security that defined Philippine-US relations and we think it is about time that we start looking at the socio-economic milieu as another defining characteristic of our relationship,” Cayetano told Gardner, Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cyber-Security Policy.
"Let us use the present to reexamine the relationship with the objective of advancing our core interests together,” he told the Colorado legislator whom he first met in Manila during his official visit to the Philippines in May.
The DFA said Gardner expressed optimism about the availability of opportunities to increase trade, investment and other economic exchanges with the Philippines.
Quoting the US official, the DFA said he noted that a robust and dynamic Philippines-US relationship contributes to the strength of the national economies of both countries.
Cayetano also briefed Gardner about the Philippine Government’s efforts to continue engagement with international partners on the issue of human rights and counter-terrorism.
“It is important that we keep our communication lines open to directly address matters of possible concern to our partners," the DFA chief said.
Cayetano was accompanied in the meeting by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Jose Luis Montales, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola, Assistant Secretary for American Affairs Maria Andrelita Austria, and Charg? d’Affaires Patrick Chuasoto of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC. DMS