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US Congressmen support the country’s West Philippine Sea position

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, right, escorts visiting U.S. Rep. Edward Royce, R-Calif., Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, prior to his delegation’s meeting Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, in Manila, Philippines. Royce and five members of his delegation are in Manila for talks with top Philippine officials, including President Benigno Aquino III, aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries. (MNS photo)

Visiting U.S. Representative Edward Royce, R-Calif., Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, gestures prior to his delegation’s meeting with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, in Manila, Philippines (MNS photo)

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario greets visiting U.S. Rep. Edward Royce, R-Calif., Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, prior to his delegation’s meeting Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, in Manila, Philippines. Royce and five members of his delegation are in Manila for talks with top Philippine officials, including President Benigno Aquino III, aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries. (MNS photo)

A US congressional delegation supported the position of the Philippines to bring the West Philippine Sea dispute to the United Nations arbitral tribunal to resolve the issue peacefully, a Palace official said on Wednesday.

The US delegation headed by Rep. Ed Royce of California met President Benigno S. Aquino III in a courtesy call in Malacanang Wednesday morning.

Congressman Royce was joined by Representatives Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, Vernon Buchanan of Florida, Matt Salmon of Arizona, and Eliot Engel of the 16th District of New York.

“The US delegation supported the position of the President in bringing the dispute to the UN arbitral tribunal, consistent with our policy of maintaining a peaceful resolution to the West Philippine Sea dispute,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press conference on Wednesday in Malacanang.

Also, the President explained the Philippine’s position why it had to bring the issue to the arbitral tribunal, Lacierda said.

Aside from discussing the West Philippine Sea issue, the President also mentioned the Philippine economy to the visiting US delegation, particularly the country’s strong stock market.

The American delegation was very bullish about the economy, Lacierda said, adding Congressman Buchanan of Florida mentioned that the Philippines should have more business and investment opportunities to explore.

The President thanked the American congressmen especially Congressman Ed Royce for co-sponsoring the Save Our Industries Act or the SAVE Act.

Also on Wednesday, the President received Daly City Mayor Raymond Buenaventura in a courtesy call. The President shared to Mayor Buenaventura the reforms that the administration has undertaken, Lacierda said.

“Overall, we had a very good courtesy call by these two delegations. We look forward to deeper business relations and the opening up of more economic opportunities between the US and the Philippines,” Lacierda said.

Visiting U.S. Rep. Edward Royce, R-Calif., Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs delivers his opening statement during his delegation’s meeting with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario (unseen) Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, in Manila, Philippines. Royce and five members of his delegation are in Manila for talks with top Philippine officials, including President Benigno Aquino III, aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries. At left is U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-New York. (MNS photo)

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