US-PH bilateral relations to focus on ‘moving forward’

Published August 6, 2022, 4:02 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The United States (US) has vowed to work closely with the Philippines under the Marcos administration to handle the needs and demands as well as take advantage of the opportunities of the 21st century.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was on an official visit to the Philippines on Saturday, Aug. 6, said he was “struck” by what President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. told him during their meeting after he said bilateral relations between the US and the Philippines should no longer be “about getting back to where we were before Covid-19.”

Marcos told him it should already be about “moving forward and transitioning all of our economies to the needs and demands and opportunities” of the current times, Blinken said.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (left) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (right) (Photo courtesy of Blinken)

There were various topics discussed and cooperation matters agreed by Blinken and the President when they met at the Malacañan Palace.

The agreements included clean energy, which the State Secretary believed to be “vital” for economic growth and innovation as well as in responding to the climate crisis.

In fact, Blinken was scheduled on the same day to attend a signing of an agreement event that would lay the “groundwork for one of the first offshore wind tower projects” in the Philippines.

“This is the latest in the long line of clean energy collaborations between us,” Blinken told reporters in a virtual press conference.

Food security is another priority that Blinken and Marcos laid out, considering the time when “food prices are rising and availability is scarce in many parts of the world.” He attributed it to the effects of climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

“We want to work closely with the Philippines both to alleviate any short term food security, but especially to help continue to build food production capacity here in the Philippines for the long term,” he said.

Blinken said they also talked about deepening the US-Philippines economic relationships, preserving and protecting the fishermen and maritime resources and strengthening human rights and other fundamental freedoms.

In the end, the US and the Philippines are expected to work together to address “leading challenges of the 21st century economy, like shaping emerging technologies, strengthening our supply chains [and] accelerating the transition to a green economy,” as these are the “pillars of the Indo-Pacific framework.”