Friday, August 8, 2014

US legislators tackle EDCA, security and economic ties in 3-day visit

From InterAksyon (Aug 8): US legislators tackle EDCA, security and economic ties in 3-day visit

President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomes U.S Senator Bob Corker, U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, and the US Congressional Delegation (CODEL) during the courtesy call at the President’s Hall of the MalacaƱan Palace on Friday (August 08, 2014). (Photo by: Ryan Lim / MalacaƱang Photo Bureau)

Two US senators and four members of the House of Representatives wrapped up Friday their three-day visit to the Philippines that tackled key aspects of PH-US ties, including the recently signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Senators Robert Corker (Republican, Tennessee) and Ronald Wyden (Democrat, Oregon), and a congressional delegation (CODEL) led by Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen called on President Aquino on Friday at the Malacanang Palace. Other members of the CODEL are: Representatives Kay Granger (Republican, Texas), Ken Calvert (Republican, South California), and Jim Moran (Democrat, Virginia).

Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Laura Q. Del Rosario was present during the call together with other Cabinet officials. This visit serves to reinforce the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States, said a DFA statement.

Major aspects of PH-US ties were discussed including the recently signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), strategic security collaboration, and economic partnership; among others.

Their visit was an opportunity to share information on developments in the Philippines, discuss matters beneficial to the Philippines now pending with the US Congress such as the benefits for veterans and encourage the visiting members of the House of Representatives to join the Philippine-US Friendship Caucus, added the DFA statement.

Senator Corker is a ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee and an active member of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. His Asian trip also includes stops in Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.

Senator Wyden is a member of the Committee on Intelligence, and Chair of the Sub Committee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness of the Finance Committee. His visit to the Philippines is part of a regional tour that will include Korea, Taiwan and China.

Representative Frelinghuysen serves as Chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Aside from being the Majority Deputy Whip, Representative Granger serves as the vice chairman of the powerfulDefense Appropriations Subcommittee and is the top Republican on the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee.

Representative Calvert continues to serve on the House Appropriations Committee where he is the Chairman of the Interior and the Environment Subcommittee.  A senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Representative Moran serves as the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment and also serves on the Defense and Legislative Branch Subcommittees.

The delegation from the US House of Representatives is on a three-country swing, and the Philippine leg is intended to give members of the Sub-Committee a better appreciation and understanding of the Philippine-US relations amid continuing and changing realities in the region, according to the DFA.

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