Thursday, February 09, 2012

Philippines ignored in US foreign policy - US lawmakers

WASHINGTON DC – US lawmakers told top Pentagon and State Department officials that America will not find a better friend than the Philippines, and wanted to know how they were paying that back.

California Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee, convened the first-ever hearing devoted to looking at the state of the US-Philippine alliance.

“For those of us in the house, there is no blunting the fact that there is a feeling the Philippines has been ignored in US foreign policy for the last few years," said Royce.

Assistant State Secretary Kurt Campbell assured the panel the two allies are on the verge of a "renaissance" in their relationship.
Royce revealed a congressional vote later this week to transfer the US Coast Guard Dallas to the Philippine Navy, sister ship of the Hamilton-class Philippine Navy flagship Gregorio del Pilar that finished her 1st mission in the Spratly islands this week, that drew instant support from Congressman Dana Rorabacher.

“Stopping Chinese aggression in the South China Sea will be a victory for all people who want peace," Rorabacher said.
Royce also expressed support for the Save Act, a bill that opens the duty-free exchange of US textiles and Philippine-made garments.

“I'm of course very happy that Chairman Royce is one of the supporters and he would like to see it push through. But we need more support from other congressmen and senators. We're trying to get more of the Republican senators so it becomes a truly bipartisan bill," said Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr.
The Save Act will generate about a billion dollars for the Philippines and thousands of new jobs for both the US and Philippines.

Royce said he will summon the US Trade Representative and Treasury officials for his next hearing on the Philippines.
Posted at 02/08/2012 12:42 PM

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