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25/01/2013: Secretary Del Rosario Briefs Top Philippine and US Businessmen

24 January 2013 - A top-level delegation of US and Philippine businessmen led by former US Ambassador to the Philippines John Negroponte and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. Chair Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan, co-chairs of the US-Philippines Society, were briefed by Secretaries Albert F. del Rosario (Foreign Affairs), Voltaire Gazmin (Defense), Cesar Purisima (Finance) and Gregory Domingo (Trade and Industry) on January 23.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose L. Cuisia accompanied the US-Philippines Society on its first business mission to the Philippines.

Secretary del Rosario spoke of the President’s three foreign policy objectives: enhancing national security, promoting economic diplomacy and protecting Filipinos overseas.

On national security, del Rosario articulated Philippine efforts to build a strong neighbourhood in cooperation with ASEAN. Beyond this, cooperation with Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, and others in mutually beneficial security dialogues are also being pursued. To promote economic diplomacy, a planned program to generate incremental foreign investment, trade, tourism and official development assistance is being implemented. To make sure that our Filipinos overseas are protected, the standard of assistance has been redefined, and a “no man left behind” policy has been adopted. “We have worked tirelessly to make the Department smarter, leaner and meaner” said Secretary del Rosario.

As the sole treaty ally of the Philippines, the US is the country’s strongest partner in defense and security. The Obama administration’s “Asia Pivot” assures peace and stability in the region. The relationship with the US also allows the Philippines to develop a minimum credible defense posture, involving maritime awareness and a capability for deterrence through increased rotational presence for joint training exercises. These exercises promote interoperability and cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

The latest developments in the West Philippine Sea was discussed, specifically the “notification and statement of claim” filed by the Philippines against China. He expressed hope that “the peaceful and friendly approach to the legal option would provide the durable solution to this dispute.”

The Secretary asked the Society to help cultivate new champions for the Philippines from among the new crop of legislators and to improve trade relations, now that Japan has overtaken the US as Philippines’ No. 1 trading partner. Noting that this administration is committed to translating good governance into good economics, the Society was likewise urged to shed a positive light on the Philippines.

The US-Philippines Society is a non-profit private sector initiative designed to encourage economic ties, promote trade and investment, support bilateral strategic goals; and enhance and expand cultural, economic and people-to-people linkages. END

Press Release from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila