9 January 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez spoke about Philippine foreign policy in a complicated world, and the strength of the Philippines-US bilateral relations in a speech to the prestigious Foreign Policy Discussion Group (FPDG) of Washington, D.C. on 8 January 2019.
The Ambassador outlined the importance of sovereignty and independence as pillars of Philippine foreign policy under President Rodrigo Duterte. He emphasized that the Philippines seeks to be a friend and partner to all, and noted that it is working to establish closer relationships with diverse countries while strengthening traditional partnerships.
Ambassador Romualdez also spoke about the different realities in which countries find themselves today, and how in a complicated world, leaders around the world are required, if not compelled, to adopt policies and leadership styles that better fit the current world environment, while being consistent with our democratic and libertarian values.
He reassured the FPDG, however, that the friendship between the Philippines and the United States remains strong and stable. From the South China Sea, to the proposed bilateral free trade agreement, and to the strong people-to-people ties anchored by a nearly 4 million Filipino diaspora in the United States, the relationship between the two countries is robust and unshakable.
“We continue to build on and strengthen our deep and long friendship based on mutual respect and a strong alliance of two great nations. Filipinos and Americans alike continue to keep the fires of our friendship burning, both in times of war and in peace,” Ambassador Romualdez told his audience.
“The friendship between our two nations could only be reinvigorated and made stronger with the recent return of the Balangiga bells to the Philippines,” the Ambassador said, in referencing the bells that were taken by US soldiers from a church in Eastern Samar during the Filipino-American war over a hundred years ago.
“I was honored to join President Duterte in Balangiga last December, and to hear the bells finally toll once again, not with the bitter sound of war, but the sweet chimes of peace and friendship,” he added.
“We were honored to host Ambassador Romualdez at the FPDG’s first dinner for 2019. He spoke about U.S.-Philippine relations and cited the return of the Balangiga Bells as a heart-warming story that rights a century-old wrong. In a lively question and answer session, Ambassador Romualdez discussed many important issues, including the role of China in the South China Sea and the importance of ongoing trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing,” said Thomas J. Reckford, President of the Foreign Policy Discussion Group, in a statement after the dinner.
“Ambassador Romualdez delivered on-target remarks on Philippine-American relations to this elite audience, citing shared values, enduring ties, and a range of common interests,” also said Ambassador John Maisto, President of the US-Philippines Society, who was a special guest at the dinner.
The FPDG was created to promote greater knowledge and understanding of problems affecting foreign policy among its members. It was established to offer a platform and a framework conducive to frank discussions of problems of foreign policy. Members of the FPDG are primarily from the Washington area and include former and present government officials, lawyers, representatives of the business sector, bankers, and academicians who are knowledgeable in foreign affairs. ###
9 January 2019