Romualdez thanks PH defense, economic allies' expressions of concern | Inquirer News

Romualdez thanks PH defense, economic allies’ expressions of concern

/ 09:52 PM April 18, 2024

Speaker Romualdez thanks PH allies

House Speaker Martin Romualdez (Official facebook page of the House of Representatives of the Philippines)

MANILA, Philippines — House of Representatives Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez has thanked the Philippines’ allies for expressing their support in crucial times, saying that mere statements of concerns about the West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue are already invaluable.

Romualdez said this during the reception for members of the US-Philippines Friendship Caucus at the Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, saying that lawmakers are happy to be back to discuss challenges faced by the Philippines and the United States (US).


“As we navigate these challenges, strengthening our defense and economic ties becomes even more crucial,” Romualdez said.


“Such support, even just in the form of expressions of concern, is invaluable to us in bolstering our defense of our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and maritime domain,” he added.

During the first-ever trilateral summit between the Philippines, US, and Japan, the leaders of each country sounded the alarm on China’s aggressive actions over the South China Sea, and its “coercive” use of its Coast Guard.

No less than US President Joe Biden reminded the world that any attack on a Philippine aircraft, vessel, or armed force in the South China Sea would trigger the Mutual Defense Treaty — an agreement between the US and the Philippines where the allies are mandated to help each other in case of a third-party military attack.

But Romualdez also mentioned the tangible assistance given to the Philippines — like efforts to help modernize the country’s Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and joint patrols over the WPS, even in the face of rising tensions.

“We are happy for all the assistance aimed at helping modernize our Armed Forces and boost our civilian law enforcement capabilities,” he said.

Among the things that Romualdez mentioned in his meeting with US counterparts are the following:

  • expanded economic cooperation after the trilateral summit
  • reauthorization of the Generalized System of Preferences, which is would facilitate duty-free access of Philippine export products to the US market, said to generate income of around US$2 billion annually
  • expanded joint military exercises in the Philippines
  • increased US foreign military financing (FMF)
  • status of Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) locations

“(The GSP) will enable us to significantly support two-way trade, as we have in prior years,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez also thanked Republican Senator Bill Hagerty and Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat, for helping introduce the Philippines Enhanced Resilience Act of 2024 (PERA Act), which seeks to pour in $500 million annually in FMFs for the Philippines from 2025 through 2029.

Romualdez’ meeting with the different US lawmakers came after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s official visit in Washington, for the trilateral meet.

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During the discussions between Marcos, Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, various points of cooperation were announced, like investments into the Luzon Economic Corridor and projects to link hubs in the area; field testing of new generation internet systems; and study tours for Filipino scientists in terms of teaching them how to handle nuclear energy.

TAGS: Philippines, Romualdez

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