Martin Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez (3rd left) gives President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos a warm welcome during their arrival Sunday afternoon (US time) at Joint Base Andrews military facility in Maryland for the President’s official visit to the United States. Photo by VER NOVENO


May 1, 2023 People's Tonight 183 views

In bid to bolster PH-US ties for peace in Indo-Pacific region

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Monday said the House of Representatives fully supports the initiative of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to push for the preservation of peace in the Indo-Pacific region as one of the key discussion points in his meeting with US President Joe Biden.

“The House of Representatives stands solidly behind President Marcos in his effort to further bolster the long-standing relationship between the Philippines and the United States with the end in view of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Romualdez.

Speaker Romualdez was among the Filipino officials who welcomed President Marcos on his arrival to the United States at Joint Base Andrews airport in Maryland.

In an interview with members of the Philippine media during his flight to the US, President Marcos said that in calling for the “evolution” of PH-US relations, he seeks to clarify the role the US intends to play amid the escalating tension in the Indo-Pacific region.

The President added that in his meeting with Biden, he will explain that the principal interest of the Philippines is to preserve regional peace.

“Geopolitical tensions and apprehensions of possible hostilities in the region will have an adverse effect on our aspirations for sustained economic growth and prosperity. It is to everyone’s benefit to ensure that conflicts are resolved through diplomatic and peaceful means,” Speaker Romualdez added.

The Speaker flew to the US in mid-April to lay the groundwork for the visit of President Marcos by meeting with key US lawmakers to discuss further strengthening the security alliance and economic partnership between the two countries.

China has been flexing its military might in the region and expressed alarm over the Philippine government’s grant of US access to four additional military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

However, President Marcos assured Beijing that the additional EDCA sites do not constitute a threat to China, which has a territorial
dispute with the Philippines and other countries in the region over maritime claims.

“We work for peace. We will not encourage any provocative action by any country that will involve the Philippines by any other country. We
will not allow that to happen. We will not allow the Philippines to be used as a staging post for any kind of military action,” President
Marcos said during the interview.

President Marcos also bared that the Philippines has taken the first steps to establish a high-level communication line with China to prevent a repetition of incidents, such as the recent near collision between coast guard vessels of the Philippines and China in Ayungin Shoal.

“We hope that such high-level communication lines can be established the soonest possible time as it would go a long way to avoid any unfortunate incidents in the West Philippine Sea,” Speaker Romualdez said.

“Malacanang’s timely action signifies our sincerity to resolve any dispute peacefully, consistent with the President’s foreign policy of being a friend to all and enemy to none,” he added.

Earlier, Romualdez expressed confidence that the meeting between President Marcos and President Biden will deepen the economic and
trade partnership between the two countries resulting to increased US investments in the country, as well as more jobs and business opportunities for our people.

In 2021, the US was the Philippines’ 3rd largest trading partner, top export market, and 5th major import source, whereas the Philippines
ranked 30th among the US’ top trade partners.

The US was also the Philippines’ 5th largest source of foreign investments in 2021, notably in the IT-BPM, electronics, real estate, construction, and transportation and storage sectors.

Speaker Romualdez and his delegation to the US also engaged their US counterparts to promote the Philippines as an ideal investment
destination for US businesses, citing the robust economic outlook for the country.

Joining Speaker Romualdez in his meetings with US lawmakers were House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City 2nd District Rep. Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe, House Deputy Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. of Pampanga’s 3rd District, Navotas City Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco, Agusan del Norte 1st District Rep. Jose “Joboy” S. Aquino II, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel “Babe” del Gallego Romualdez, House Secretary General Reginald “Reggie” Velasco, and House Sergeant-at-Arms PMGen. Napoleon Taas.