PH to get share of $8.1-B US emergency aid package

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

April 23, 2024, 7:28 pm

<p>US House of Representatives<em> (Xinhua photo)</em></p>

US House of Representatives (Xinhua photo)

MANILA – The Philippines' inclusion in the proposed USD8.1 billion aid package of the United States House of Representatives would help strengthen the country's defense capabilities, especially amid escalating tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

Speaker Martin Romualdez said in a news release on Tuesday that the US House approved the emergency aid package for key allies in the Indo-Pacific, including the Philippines, with a vote of 385-34.

Romualdez particularly highlighted an approved amendment to the bill, introduced by California Rep. Darrell Issa that encourages the US State Department to allocate USD500 million in foreign military financing to the Philippines.

"The passage of this amendment underscores the deepening partnership between our nations and highlights the United States' commitment to enhancing the defense capabilities of the Philippines," Romualdez said.

The proposed allocation of military aid to the Philippines, he said, would expedite the country’s military modernization and bolster law enforcement capabilities, which are crucial steps for maintaining sovereignty and regional peace.

The approval of the bipartisan measure comes on the heels of recent extensive deliberations between the Philippine House delegation and a number of American legislators in Washington, D.C.

The deliberations coincided with the trilateral summit among US President Joe Biden, Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on April 11.

"The constructive dialogue and shared vision exhibited during our meetings exemplify the enduring partnership between our nations,” he said. “This aid package symbolizes our collective resolve to fortify the bonds of friendship and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific."

Romualdez expressed confidence that the US House’s decisive action would set the stage for further collaboration and partnership between the US and its allies in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly the Philippines.

"As we navigate complex global challenges, the bonds forged through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation will serve as the cornerstone of our shared aspirations for a brighter future,” he said.

This comprehensive measure will now proceed to the Senate for a final vote. (PNA)