PHL hoping for longer-term US involvement in Yolanda rehab
The Philippines is hoping for longer-term involvement by the United States in rehabilitation efforts in areas hit by super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), with the visit of a US senator to the country this week.
Philippine Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. said he is hopeful the visit of Sen. Marco Rubio will prompt Washington to commit to a long-term involvement in the rehabilitation work.
Cuisia said President Benigno Aquino III is expected to receive Rubio this Wednesday. Rubio is on a week-long trip that would also take him to Japan and Korea.
“We are hoping that Senator Rubio will be one of the advocates for a long-term US commitment in the reconstruction of Haiyan devastated communities in the Philippines,” Cuisia said in a news release posted on the embassy website early Monday, Manila time.
Rubio is a ranking member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
During his Philippine visit, Rubio will also meet with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and may visit Tacloban City, one of the areas hit hard by Yolanda.
The Philippine embassy in Washington said Rubio's visit will also focus on defense and economic cooperation and regional issues, and finding ways on how US help related to Yolanda is being used.
Cuisia noted reconstruction remains a "huge challenge," with the Philippine government recently unveiling an $8.2-billion reconstruction road map.
“The Philippines is therefore turning again to the international community, especially the US, in seeking official development assistance to support reconstruction efforts,” he said.
The embassy also said Cuisia told Rubio during their meeting that the Philippines "welcomes the pivot to Asia policy and I hope the US Administration will continue to strengthen the implementation of this policy, with greater focus in Southeast Asia.”
“The Philippines would also like to see an expansion of the pivot policy in terms of our economic relationship,” he added. —KG, GMA News