2023 May 3
MARCOS MEETS WITH HARRIS. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and United States Vice President Kamala Harris (2nd and 3rd from left) exchange pleasantries at the US Naval Observatory in Washington, DC on Tuesday (US time). The two vowed to foster stronger cooperation between the Philippines and the US to achieve digital inclusion, a clean energy economy, and food security.
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and United States Vice President Kamala Harris have vowed to foster stronger cooperation between the Philippines and the US to achieve digital inclusion, a clean energy economy, and food security.
The two leaders made the commitment during a meeting held at the US Naval Observatory in Washington, DC on Tuesday (US time).
Harris said the White House meeting of Marcos and US President Joe Biden deepened the alliance between the United States and the Philippines, noting that it is “probably stronger than ever.”
She said the two countries could boost their mutually beneficial partnerships in a wide range of areas.
“During my visit to the Philippines, we discussed many issues including the importance of clean energy economy. You and I share a passion for that… As well as issues that relate to food security and what we must do around digital inclusion,” Harris said.
Marcos said the friendship between the two countries is currently on the “upside” after the various “cycles” it has undergone, thanking Harris for “laying the groundwork” for his meeting with Biden at the White House on Monday.
“After all the different cycles as in any friendship… like any friendship we go through many cycles… we’re very, very happy to be here, to get this opportunity to speak with you and to have spoken with your President,” he said.
Marcos also acknowledged the effort of US Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff during the meeting as “part of the process” of facilitating the meeting with the American president.
“I think that has given us the very attractive opportunity to continue to strengthen that relationship between our two countries in the face, in the context of all of the difficulties and complexities, the rising tensions in our region and the world. And once again, we turn to our American partners, our only treaty partner in the world,” he said.
Harris also lauded Marcos for his leadership to give priority “around our mutual prosperity and security.”
She said the two countries would continue to work together on the issue relating to the South China Sea.
“And on the issue of security of course, the work that our countries are doing together as it relates to the South China Sea, as it relates to what we must do in terms of continuing to work together through our Coast Guards,” she said.
In November last year, Harris traveled to Puerto Princesa, Palawan, where she met with residents, civil society leaders, and Philippine Coast Guard officials.
‘Concerned as you could possibly be’
In a chance interview, Marcos said security cooperation with the US would “just keep going” amid tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, as he expressed concern over the provocative actions of China in the West Philippine Sea.
“As concerned as you could possibly be,” he said. “It is one of the major issues that we have to face back home.”
“Well, cooperation with the United States certainly is just something that we are building upon that has been going on for many, many, many decades. And we just keep going,” he added.
Joining Marcos during the meeting were First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos, House of Representatives Speaker Martin Romualdez, Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez, Mrs. Maria Lourdes Romualdez, and Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos.
In a joint statement on Monday, both Marcos and Biden welcomed the identification of new sites under the US-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
The two leaders said this would strengthen Philippine security and support the modernization goals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Both leaders underscored their “unwavering commitment” to freedom of navigation and overflight in the West Philippine Sea, as well as the importance of respecting the sovereign rights of states within their exclusive economic zones, consistent with international law.
Filane Mikee Cervantes