Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez shared his forecast on the Philippines-U.S. relationship with the members and guests of the Rotary Club of Manila (RCM) during RCM’s 20th Membership Meeting held via the Zoom platform on 18 November 2020 (19 November 2020 in the Philippines).
The Ambassador’s presentation before the RCM occurred more than two weeks after the U.S. presidential election and amid the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to undermine economic growth and public health in both countries.
“Being the president’s representative in Washington, I am aware that a lot of challenges will be forthcoming, but we are ready to move forward and meet these challenges head on. Our job is to establish good relations with our host country, and fortunately we have friends from both camps, both Republicans and Democrats, and I think the relationship between the two countries is in pretty good shape,” Ambassador Romualdez said.
On foreign policy, the Ambassador underscored the importance to the Philippines of the Trump Administration’s recognition of the 2016 Philippine Court of Arbitration ruling that invalidated China’s expansive claims on the South China Sea. This recognition has received bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress. Ambassador Romualdez told the RCM that foreign policy advisers of president-elect Joe Biden“indicated that they will most likely continue with the current policy regarding China and the South China Sea and the importance of the 2016 PCA decision in maintaining peace and balance in the region.”
He also expressed confidence that American companies that are looking to expand into other markets will see the Philippines as the pathway to Asia in a post-pandemic world.
The positive image of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in the United States was likewise cited as an asset to the enduring relationship, grounding it in the goodwill and friendship that exists between the two nations.
During the open forum, Ambassador Romualdez fielded questions regarding bilateral cooperation in pandemic response, and the status of vaccine development in the United States, among others.
The Rotary Club of Manila is the first and oldest Rotary Club in Asia. Since its establishment in 1919, it has pioneered various projects covering the whole spectrum of the four avenues of Rotary service. It is currently led by its President, Bobby Joseph.