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US Vice President Kamala Harris arrives in the Philippines

By Brooke Villanueva Published Nov 20, 2022 7:15 pm Updated Nov 20, 2022 7:55 pm

Kamala Harris, the Vice President of the United States, has arrived in the Philippines following her participation at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders Meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Air Force Two carrying the US official landed in Manila on Sunday, Nov. 20 at around 6:39 p.m. She was welcomed by United States Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, Ambassador of the Philippines to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, United States Deputy Chief of Mission Heather Variava, Pasay Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano, among others.

In an official statement, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Harris' PH visit "will reaffirm and strengthen the US-Philippines Alliance and underscore the breadth of our cooperation as friends, partners, and allies." 

Included in her schedule is a meeting with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte in Manila. 

From Nov. 20 to 22, she will fly to Palawan to have a look at the present operations and situation in the West Philippine Sea and interact with dwellers, civil society leaders, and Philippine Coast Guard representatives in the area. 

A US senior administration official said that Harris’ trip to the Philippines “demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to stand with our Philippine ally in upholding the rules-based international maritime order in the South China Sea, supporting maritime livelihoods, and countering illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing.” 

According to a report by ONE News, the first woman US VP has always put maritime cooperation among Southeast Asian nations at the forefront. At the US-ASEAN Summit held in May 2022, she spearheaded a discussion with ASEAN leaders about maritime security. She also led the launch of new Coast Guard initiatives for Southeast Asia amounting to $60 million (over P3 billion).