American lawmaker assures DFA of strong US-Phl ties
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - January 18, 2013 - 10:33am

MANILA, Philippines - The new chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs has assured the Philippines of Washington's commitment to a strong alliance with Manila.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Secretary Albert F. del Rosario met with Rep. Ed Royce who was recently appointed as the chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs on January 15.

Del Rosario personally congratulated Royce on his new  portfolio in the US Congress.

During the meeting, Royce reiterated his commitment to a strong alliance between the Philippines and the United States, the DFA said.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr., who was also at the meeting, said Del Rosario and  Royce renewed their commitment to promoting the historic and vital relationship between the two countries. They also noted the large population of Filipino Americans in the United States, particularly in the congressman’s congressional district, and the common ideals of democracy that the two countries uphold.

“I don’t believe any sequestration or budget reduction would have any marked impact on US engagement in Asia, particularly in bolstering security and military alliances. Asia represents half of the global economy. We need to keep the peace and keep the shipping lines open. The supremacy of international law must be respected,” Royce stated in the meeting. The two officials agreed that US presence is a force of stability in Asia.

Del Rosario and Cuisia thanked the congressman for his support for the Save Our Industries Act (SAVE Act), a trade initiative in the US Congress which aims to create jobs in the Philippine apparel and US textile industries. Royce said “we have to keep pushing it (the SAVE Act).”

“The US pivot to Asia should mean towards the Philippines, the oldest and one of the closest allies of the US in the region. The SAVE Act is tangible evidence in trade policy of this pivot,” Royce  said.

Recognizing the importance of the alliance in the ambit of the US Congress,  Royce assured Del Rosario that he will help reinvigorate the Philippine-US Friendship Caucus. The Caucus is a bipartisan network of US congressmen that works for a bilateral partnership for democracy and regional security and recognizes the dynamic presence of Filipino Americans in the United States.

Royce of Orange County, California is a long-time proponent of closer defense cooperation between the Philippines and the US and has pushed for bilateral efforts against terrorism. He has been a staunch supporter of the rules-based approach to the West Philippine Sea issue and the peaceful resolution of disputes within the framework of international law. Last year, as chair of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation, and Trade, he convened a congressional hearing focused on strengthening Philippines-US Alliance.

 

Tension between the Philippines and China has escalated over Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal)  in April when Philippine Navy personnel boarded eight Chinese fishing vessels which were allegedly caught poaching giant clams, baby sharks and other species in the area. However, the arrest of Chinese fishermen was blocked by Chinese government vessels.


 

Citing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas, the Philippines is claiming the territory, saying the area is within its 200-mile exclusive economic zone. Beijing, on the other hand, claims the territory, citing historical basis. 
 




 

CITING THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION CUISIA JR. DEL ROSARIO DEL ROSARIO AND CUISIA DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS FILIPINO AMERICANS FOREIGN AFFAIRS ROYCE UNITED STATES
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