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Philippines asks US lawmakers' help for Cutters, F-16s

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Saturday sought help from United States lawmakers in acquiring new equipment for "territorial defense."

Del Rosario followed up the Philippines' request for such equipment during a meeting with a seven-member United States congressional delegation.

news release posted on the DFA website early Sunday said del Rosario stressed "the Philippines' urgent need for additional Weather High Endurance  Cutters (WHEC) and a squadron of F-16s."

He cited measures being undertaken by the Aquino administration to "respect human rights and the rule of law and end the culture of impunity."

Leading the delegation was US House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Rep. Harold Rogers.

Other members of the delegation included Reps. Norman Dicks, Ander Crenshaw, Rodney Alexander, Steven LaTourette, Tom Cole, and Michael Simpson.

Among the issues covered during the meeting were the West Philippine Sea and the need to enhance Philippine maritime domain awareness, trade and economic relations, human rights, ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

During the meeting, del Rosario also sought the American legislators' support on the enactment into law of the Save Our Industries Act (SAVE Act).

This would be a "win-win" proposition because it will increase U.S. textile exports and Philippine garment exports, he said.

Also, the SAVE Act aims to slash US tariffs on certain categories on Philippine-produced garments made of U.S. fabrics or yarns.

The DFA release said the US legislators committed to discuss these issues with the members of the U.S. executive branch and "keep an eye on them."

"Certainly we can attest to the fact that this administration is doing all it can to right the wrongs of the past. We want you to know that we want you to achieve your goals," it quoted Rogers as saying.

Present at the meeting was US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. — LBG, GMA News
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January 15, 2012 10:22am
GMA News Online
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