Harris’ visit a strong message: PH can no longer be bullied – Bordado | Inquirer News

Harris’ visit a strong message: PH can no longer be bullied – Bordado

/ 11:22 PM November 23, 2022
Kamala Harris in Palawan

US Vice President Kamala Harris drops by a fishing community in Barangay Tagburos after her arrival in Puerto Princesa, Palawan province, on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, the third and last day of her visit to the Philippines. (REUTERS)

MANILA, Philippines — The visit of US Vice President Kamala Harris to the Philippines is a strong indication of international support for the Asian nation amid threats from China over disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea.

This was the observation of Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Gabriel Bordado, who said that Harris’ visit not only to Manila but to Palawan as well — the province nearest to the West Philippine Seas — shows that the Philippines could no longer be bullied.

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“The visit of Vice President Harris should send a strong signal to countries that do not respect territorial boundaries and continue to bully us in our own seas,” Bordado said in a statement on Wednesday.

Bordado also heaped praise on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte for communicating with Harris and “pushing for the strengthening of bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and the United States”.

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Harris’ visit, the lawmaker noted, is very important since US leaders visiting the country is a solid show of commitment from the global superpower.

“Harris is the first highest-ranking US official to have visited the Philippines since the visit of former President Donald Trump in 2017.  High-level visits are often used by the US to show commitment to economic, diplomatic, and military cooperation with allies around the world,” Bordado said.

“On Tuesday, Harris visited Palawan where the West Philippine Sea is located. The Philippines and China have been in a long-standing maritime dispute as Beijing claims almost the entirety of the South China Sea, which overlaps with the West Philippine Sea,” he added.

Harris arrived last Sunday evening, aboard US Air Force Two.  He then met with President Marcos and Vice President Duterte on Monday, where the two leaders talked about security and economic ties.

Harris issued a strong statement on her trip to Palawan, saying that the US stands with the Philippines in its fight against coercion in the West Philippine Sea.  Prior to her visit, a senior US administration official said that Harris’ visit to Palawan was not only about security but also about the vice president’s concern about the harmful effects of illegal fishing to local fisherfolk.

During her trip, Harris also led the launch of several programs of the US Embassy in the Philippines regarding energy and trade, while kickstarting negotiations between the two sides regarding a nuclear energy agreement.

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TAGS: Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Kamala Harris, maritime dispute, PH-US relations, Sara Duterte, West Philippine Sea
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