US Ambassador Goldberg visit USC
US ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg visited the American Corner of the Bonk Library in USC Downtown Campus at about 9:30 AM,to talk about how he intendsto accommodate the economic needs of the Filipinos.
In the seminar that followed the press conference, Goldberg discussed three main points that needed improvement. The first being the rise of the economic situation of the Philippines in relation to the stagnant living standards of the Filipinos, saying that “the economy is improving but it did not improve livelihood. (sic)” The second point was to strengthen the US military presence due to the heightened tension caused by territorial conflicts. The third has tackled the general relations between the US and the Filipino people.
In the first point, he expressed that the US Embassy would like to help the Philippines byprovidingmore jobs, helping reduce poverty andattract the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to return and make the economy more inclusive to Filipinos. He also reiterated the Progress for Growth (PFG),signed in 2011 to secure the future economic growth of the Philippines and strengthenpartnerships. With this agreement, the US has poured out $500 million to the Philippine economy. The US Embassy wishes to help the best they can to support the economic growth and increase the Filipino standard of living.
The US Embassy would also assist in making the government transactions more transparent, to attract more investors and boost infrastructure. One of the finished projects done was the 222 miles highway for Samar and Leyte.
The second agenda was to strengthen US military presence in the region especially considering the heightened tension of the Chinese conflict over the Spratly Islands and the entire West Philippine Sea.He said that “Military and security underpins support for development. It will create environment for growth to take place.” This is an issue since freedom of navigation carries 40% of trade.
The last agenda was to improve US relations with the Filipino people as a whole. The US Embassy aims to improve scholarships and provide more opportunities for Filipino students to study in the US. The Philippines has more than 5 million Filipino-American children and they wanted to ensure equal opportunities for all.
In the open forum, questions included those concerning the shadow economy of the Philippines (i.e. the sex dens), the recent arrest of the perpetrators who were caught by the NBI and Homeland Security and the US Embassy’s involvement. Goldberg stated that the Embassy is sending back annual reports on the situation along with strengthening and training their military and police force. When asked about the China-Philippines tension over territory, he expressed the neutrality of US in this issue however the US disapproves of acts of coercion and bullying done by China.
The US presently has spent over $90 million to support the economic growth. $65 million for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and $35 million for the military.