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14/01/2012: Secretary Del Rosario Receives 7-Member U.S. Congressional Delegation, Discuss Ways to Strengthen Phl-US Ties

14 January 2012-Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario received a seven-member United States congressional delegation today and discussed ways to strengthen the ties between the Philippines and the U.S.

The delegation was led by U.S. House Committee on Appropriations Chair, Representative Harold Rogers, together with Representatives Norman D. Dicks, Ander Crenshaw, Rodney Alexander, Steven C. LaTourette, Tom Cole, and Michael K. Simpson.

They were accompanied to the meeting by U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas.

The issues covered during the meeting included the West Philippine Sea and the need to enhance Philippine maritime domain awareness, trade and economic relations, human rights, ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Consistent with the U.S commitment to provide assistance for the Philippines' territorial defense on the basis of a minimum credible deterrent posture, Secretary del Rosario stressed, "the Philippines' urgent need for additional Weather High Endurance  Cutters (WHEC) and a squadron of F-16s."

In the area of human rights, the Foreign Affairs Secretary cited the measures being undertaken by the Aquino government to respect human rights and the rule of law and end the culture of impunity.

He also sought the American legislators' support on the enactment into law of the Save Our Industries Act (SAVE Act) which is a "win-win" proposition because it will increase U.S. textile exports and Philippine garment exports.

The SAVE Act aims to slash U.S. tariffs on certain categories on Philippine-produced garments made of U.S. fabrics or yarns.

The legislators committed to discuss these issues with the members of the U.S. executive branch and "keep an eye on them."

Citing his observations about the Philippines, Representative Rogers stressed, "Certainly we can attest to the fact that this administration is doing all it can to right the wrongs of the past," adding, "we want you to know that we want you to achieve your goals". (Photo by: Benjamin Remo-DFA-PISU) END

Press release from the Department of Foreign Affairs