Friendship Caucus to strengthen US, PH bilateral relations

October 13, 2021 Cristina Lee-Pisco 350 views

THE U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and Filipino legislators held a hybrid virtual and in-person event to launch the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Philippines Congressional Friendship Caucus to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

The Friendship Caucus is a cross-party group of members from the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives.

Established in 2021 in honor of the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Philippines, the caucus will sponsor events in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and help deepen relations between the Philippine legislative branch and the U.S. government.

Membership is open to any senator or member of Congress interested in joining.

At the launch, the Embassy shared insights on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the United States, and how those experiences have shaped U.S. assistance to the Philippines.

Participants heard from presenters in the State of California about that state’s experience with the pandemic and from representatives from U.S vaccine manufacturers.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) representatives also presented information about U.S. support to the Philippines both bilaterally and through the COVAX facility that delivers vaccines around the globe.

The U.S. government is proud to support pandemic relief efforts in the Philippines since the outbreak began, the US Embassy said.

Through the COVAX facility, the United States has facilitated delivery of more than 24.3 million vaccines to the Philippines, including more than 16.4 million doses provided by the American people. Since the beginning of October, the Philippines has received more than 7.4 million doses provided jointly by the United States and COVAX.

The United States has also provided more than Php1.9 billion ($39 million) since the start of the pandemic to support the Philippines’ pandemic response. This assistance has helped train healthcare workers, establish quarantine facilities, improve public health communication, enhance vaccine rollout, and support economic recovery efforts.

The United States is the leading donor to the COVAX facility and has contributed Php200 billion ($4 billion) to fund equitable vaccine access around the world. With these funds and those of other COVAX contributors, COVAX has already shipped millions of doses of AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines to the Philippines. By the end of 2023, COVAX will have provided vaccines to one in every three Filipinos.