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05/05/2015: CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION PROMOTES PH’S GROWING ROLE IN GLOBAL MARITIME AFFAIRS

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-027-2015 
4 May 2015

Washington, DC—A delegation from the Philippines House of Representatives led by Transportation Committee Chairman Cesar Sarmiento representing Catanduanes, traveled to Washington, DC to highlight the Philippines’ important role in the global maritime industry from 27 to 30 April 2015.

Chairman Sarmiento was joined by Congressman Jesulito Manalo of ANGKLA (Maritime Partylist), Congressman Jonathan Dela Cruz of ABAKADA (Education Partylist), and Congresswoman Gwendolyn Garcia (Cebu 3rd district). The third district of Cebu hosts a growing shipping industry. The Philippines is currently the fourth largest shipbuilding country in the world.

The Philippines is also the world’s leading provider of maritime professionals representing thirty percent of global merchant vessel manpower. Mr. Gerardo Borromeo, CEO of Manila-based Philippine Transmarine Carriers and Board Director of the US-Philippines Society, noted that commercial shipping is often referred to as the “invisible industry” and underscored that the Philippines’ substantial and evolving role in maritime affairs can be boiled down to the statement, “We move the world.”

The US-Philippines Society organized the visit of the Members of the Philippines House of Representatives in cooperation with the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. expressed his gratitude to the delegation for their efforts in further strengthening Philippines-US relations.

“As maritime nations, the Philippines and the United States are working together to preserve maritime security. Both countries recognize the current challenges as well as the opportunities and we thank our congressional delegation for promoting further areas of cooperation especially in the area of maritime training and ship repair,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

On 29 April, the delegation met with the Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Asia and the Pacific of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Matt Salmon (R-AZ) for a review of broad policy issues. Other meetings on Capitol Hill focused on maritime affairs and included Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), and Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), all Transportation Committee members.

Members of the delegation participated in a public forum on 29 April at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), one of Washington’s premier think tanks.

In his opening remarks at the forum on the Philippines’ Role in Global Maritime Affairs, Society Co-Chair John D. Negroponte emphasized that the shipping industry is vital to sustained economic development and rising standards of living on both sides of the Pacific. Negroponte described a shared concern for preserving the vast richness of aquatic resources and for maintaining unimpeded access to the major nautical highways facilitating trade in and out of Asia.

Joe Cox, CEO of the Chamber of Shipping of America, provided an international private sector perspective, highlighting the potential for Filipino seamen to take on positions of greater technical responsibility in the shipping industry.

Borromeo and Congressman Manalo said the delegation’s visit succeeded in fostering dialogue between Philippine and American legislators on improving operating standards, enhancing cooperation on training and student exchanges, and exploring commercial opportunities in the Philippines for repair and maintenance of US naval and civilian vessels.

In meetings outside Congress, the delegation exchanged views with the U.S. Maritime Administrator Paul Jaenichen and Craig Bone of the American Bureau of Shipping. An off-site tour of training facilities run by the International Seaman’s Union in Southern Maryland provided an opportunity for a first-hand view of the latest in training and processing procedures for American seamen.

Negroponte said the US-Philippines Society, in partnership with the Philippine Embassy under the leadership of Ambassador Cuisia, was delighted to play a role in raising awareness of that role, in stimulating more discussion about global shipping in the 21st century, and exploring opportunities for both countries in one of the world’s most vital industries. ###

PHOTO RELEASE
WDC-043-2015
4 May 2015

A Congressional Delegation made up of Transportation Committee Chairman Cesar Sarmiento of Catanduanes, Congressman Jesulito Manalo of ANGKLA Partylist, Congressman Jonathan Dela Cruz of ABAKADA Partylist, and Congresswoman Gwendolyn Garcia or Cebu 3rd District, paid a courtesy call to Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. on 28 April 2015. They were accompanied by Ambassador John Maisto, President of the US-Philippines Society; Ms. Emily Dela Cruz; and Mr. Gerardo Borromeo, CEO of Manila-based Philippine Transmarine Carriers and Board Director of the US-Philippines Society. The delegation was in Washington, DC to meet with government and non-governmental officials and promote the Philippines' growing role in global maritime affairs.