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Chairman Royce concludes successful visit to PHL

President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomes the United States Congressional Delegation (CODEL), headed by newly selected chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Representative Edward Royce, during the Courtesy Call at the Music Room, Malacañan Palace on Wednesday (January 30, 2013). High on the agenda are discussions on PH-US relations, defense and trade and investment cooperation, as well as regional security issues. The US CODEL also includes Congressmen Eliot Engel (D-New York), Vern Buchanan (R-Florida), Thomas Anthony Marino (R-Pennsylvania), Gregory Meeks (D-New York) and Matthew James Salmon (R-Arizona). In photo are U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines His Excellency Harry Thomas, Jr. and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. (MNS photo)

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, marked the conclusion of a successful three-day official visit to the Philippines by laying a wreath in remembrance to fallen heroes of World War II at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.  The Cemetery is the final resting place of over 17,000 Americans and Filipinos killed in the Pacific Theatre.

Chairman Royce said, “America’s pivot to Asia is a broad effort to be more fully engaged in this region. This includes security, trade and investment, and people-to-people exchanges.  By working closely with our friends in the Philippines to strengthen their economy and rule of law, we bolster the broader U.S.-Philippine relationship.  I commend President Aquino for his anti-corruption agenda.  Progress is being made at the federal level, but more needs to be done at the local level in order to free the people of the Philippines from decades of poor governance.”

Chairman Royce led a bipartisan delegation to the Philippines to support President Aquino’s reform agenda and to review the state of corruption in the country.  The delegation met with President Aquino, Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario, Justice Secretary De Lima, Trade Secretary Domingo and other cabinet officials.  Chairman Royce also met with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and business leaders to discuss the state of the Philippine economy and investment climate.  Other topics included tax reform, energy policy, trade, and human rights.

In his meeting with Speaker Belmonte and the Philippine House of Representatives, Chairman Royce urged the legislators to provide President Aquino and other reform-minded officials the necessary legal tools to stamp out corruption.

President Benigno S. Aquino III exchanges views with the United States Congressional Delegation (CODEL), headed by newly selected chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Representative Edward Royce, during the Courtesy Call at the Music Room, Malacañan Palace on Wednesday (January 30, 2013). High on the agenda are discussions on PH-US relations, defense and trade and investment cooperation, as well as regional security issues. The US CODEL also includes Congressmen Eliot Engel (D-New York), Vern Buchanan (R-Florida), Thomas Anthony Marino (R-Pennsylvania), Gregory Meeks (D-New York) and Matthew James Salmon (R-Arizona). In photo are U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines His Excellency Harry Thomas, Jr., Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Philippine Ambassador to the United States of America His Excellency Jose Cuisia, Jr., Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras. (MNS photo)

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