Posts Tagged ‘Manila’

Seriously,  we need to start a Museum/Library for her in Seneca Falls.  She needs a place to park all of these awards where we can visit, and it has to be in Seneca Falls!

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Presentation of the Order of Lakandula, Signing of the Partnership for Growth and Joint Press Availability with Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Manila, Philippines
November 16, 2011

MODERATOR: Please be seated. We will now proceed to the conferment of the award. Be it known to all men by these (inaudible) that I, Benigno S. Aquino III, president of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, have caused to be inscribed in the roster of the Order of Lakandula the name of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, United States of America, with the rank of Bayani, done in the City of Manila the 16thday of November in the year of our Lord 2011.(The award was conferred.)


MODERATOR: We will now proceed to the signing of the Joint Statement of Intent on the Partnership for Growth between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the United States of America.

The Partnership for Growth aligns both governments’ strategic efforts towards inclusive Philippine economic growth. This partnership will enhance the Philippine Government’s capability to: first, foster a more competitive business environment; second, strengthen the rule of law and increase efficiency in courts; and lastly, support fiscal stability. This five-year program is a signature initiative of President Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development. Fifteen U.S. agencies are actively engaged with the Philippine Government in this new joint effort. The Partnership for Growth anticipates producing a transformative impact on the Philippines and unleashing the country’s potential for broad-based and sustained economic growth. (Applause.)

(The joint statement was signed.)


MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes the signing ceremony. We will now proceed to the press opportunity. Secretary Clinton will now deliver her statement.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much, and let me begin by expressing what a personal pleasure it is for me to be back here in Manila. I want to thank President Aquino and Foreign Secretary Del Rosario for extending such a warm welcome and also extend my appreciation to all of the officials of the Government of the Philippines. And I am grateful to all of you and to the people of the Philippines for the Order of Lakandula. This is an honor that I will always treasure.

And on behalf of the American people and President Obama, I bring greetings and well wishes. For 60 years now, the alliance between the Philippines and the United States has helped keep our nations secure. And thanks to that security, both nations have made progress on many fronts. We have strengthened our democracies, developed our economies, and certainly built strong ties among our peoples. We have also helped provide stability and security throughout the Asia Pacific.

And so we do have a lot to be grateful for and proud of during this anniversary year. But it’s not about looking toward the past. This is about how we face the future together. And we know that we can count on the alliance to continue to keep us safe and growing stronger.

During the past year, our nations have embarked on a campaign of increasingly active diplomacy. In January, we inaugurated the first U.S.-Philippines Bilateral Strategic Dialogue here in Manila. In June, I had the pleasure of welcoming the foreign secretary to Washington. And Secretary Panetta and I are looking forward to welcoming Secretary Del Rosario and Defense Secretary Gazmin to Washington early next year for a joint meeting in the 2+2 format, making it the first time all four secretaries will sit down together to take a comprehensive look at our partnership. Our meeting in Washington in January will be quite a bit cooler weather-wise, but I hope just as warm personally as the one here in Manila.

My visit today is part of this reinvigorated diplomacy. Earlier on the deck of the USS Fitzgerald in Manila Bay, the foreign secretary and I signed the Manila Declaration. And just now, he and I officially launched the U.S.-Philippines Partnership for Growth, a rigorous, results-oriented collaboration to help the Philippines break into the ranks of the world’s high-performing emerging economies and achieve sustainable, broad-based growth that will benefit all of the people of this country. Leaders here have worked hard to lay the groundwork for this kind of economic leap by making reforms to improve transparency and tax collection and to create more inclusive prosperity.

The United States wants to support these pro-growth reforms and help unlock the Philippines vast economic potential to improve the lives of your own people, to drive regional prosperity, and to create more high-paying jobs so fewer Filipino citizens have to travel to distant countries to support their families.

Through the Partnership for Growth, a team from across the United States Government will work closely with partners in the Filipino Government to create a more transparent and predictable business environment, lower barriers to trade and strengthen the rule of law, as well as fighting corruption. Together we hope to deliver an array of benefits to the people, including more foreign investment to create new jobs, a more streamlined court system that can deliver justice and protect local businesses, better services, and more resources to fight poverty. Over time, these steps will better position the Philippines to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which we hope will dramatically increase trade and investment among the peoples of the Pacific.

In addition to our bilateral partnership, we are working in several regional forums. A few days ago we met in Hawaii for the APEC Leaders Meeting, and in a few days we will meet again in Bali for the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN Leaders Meeting. Our goal is to show demonstrably what we mean by a pivot to Asia, to strengthen the architecture of cooperation among the nations of the Pacific to address regional challenges, advance broad-based security, prosperity, democratic progress, and peace.

The United States looks to the Philippines and sees a trusted ally, a nation that shares our democratic values, and ancestral home for millions of Filipino Americans, an important trade and development partner, and may I add, a country with one of the highest Facebook penetration rates in the world. The Filipino people, like the American people, are eager to connect, to seize new opportunities, to have a voice in their own country and in global debates. And so let us work together to shape that shared future.

And I’ll end today with just a personal comment, some praise for a native son of the Philippines who is making headlines across the world. We know that the Pacman had another great victory. As I said in the last time I was in Manila, I am a major Pacman fan, and in the spirit of his sport and his success, let me say the United States will always be in the corner of the Philippines. We will always stand and fight with you to achieve the future we seek. (Applause.) Thank you all.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. Secretary Del Rosario will now deliver his statement.

FOREIGN SECRETARY DEL ROSARIO: Ladies and gentlemen, the year 2011 is a banner year for Philippines-U.S. relations. This year we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Philippines-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty as well as the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps and USAID in the Philippines. The event is marked no less than by the visit of Secretary Clinton, to be followed by the meeting between President Aquino and President Obama in Indonesia on the 18th of November.

These milestones and high-level meetings have tested the multifaceted engagement between the Philippines and the United States, making it one of the most durable and dynamic strategic partnerships in the whole world.

Secretary Clinton and I had very fruitful discussions on a broad range of bilateral, regional, and global issues this morning. We exchanged views on how to employ the interlocking tools of development, diplomacy, and defense to weld a formidable, more focused, and efficient alliance that is results-oriented and forward-looking.

This morning we signed the Manila Declaration. It affirms the vigor of our alliance, especially at a time when the Philippines is facing challenges to its territorial integrity in the West Philippine Sea. As I mentioned earlier in the signing, a stronger, reliable Philippine defense in the West Philippine Sea upholds our common and shared interests to freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce, and respect for international law.

The president also met with Secretary Clinton today and discussed areas where their priorities converge and how the Philippines and the U.S. can work in these areas together. We are charting the course of our relations by seizing vast opportunities to grow our economies, open by the fastest-growing region in the world, the Asia Pacific.

The Philippines and the U.S. blazed a trail in development-oriented collaboration in Asia. We jointly embark on a mission to win a sustainable and broad-based economic growth in our country through the Partnership for Growth. A stronger economy for the Philippines is a stronger ally for the United States and the region. We are committing ourselves in implementing policies that will catalyze a kind of economic growth that would have a perceptible impact on the lives of average Filipinos across the nation. By unlocking the Philippines’ potential for economic growth, the Partner for Growth will boost the Aquino administration’s drive to unleash our country’s capacity to create equal opportunities for everyone.

There is much reservoir of goodwill across both sides of the Pacific. I am confident that our partnership will gather more steam as our engagement intensifies in every front. I thank you. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: Thank you, Secretary Del Rosario. Secretary Clinton and Secretary Del Rosario will now take two questions from members of the press. The first will be from Mr. Paul Eckert of Reuters.

QUESTION: Thank you. Good afternoon. Paul Eckert of Reuters News Agency. For both officials, the development yesterday down in Bali where the ASEAN nations were unable to agree on a united stand on the South China Sea, for Secretary Clinton, how does that complicate your work going forward on this issue going into Bali and beyond? And more broadly, all countries sort of wrestle with the economic appeal of China and how to tap that, along with coping with some of the policies that may be less palatable or even threatening, depending on where you sit. So I’d welcome a broader philosophical comment from either official on the second part of that question. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Paul, let me start. First of all, we believe that the United States participation for the first time in the East Asia Summit as well as our third U.S.-ASEAN Leaders Meeting sends a very strong message of what our level of commitment is to this region and to the many issues that we confront. And we will certainly expect and participate in a very open, frank discussion of maritime security challenges in the region and how to address them cooperatively. President Obama will reaffirm our national interest in the maintenance of peace and security in the region and internationally, and that includes freedom of navigation, overflight, respect for international law, the rule of law, unimpeded lawful commerce across the region’s maritime domain. And we further seek to see the Law of the Sea used as the overriding framework for handling territorial disputes.

So we expect that there will be such a frank discussion. We have been heartened by the strong response by a number of the countries that are part of ASEAN and part of the broader East Asia Summit. And we think this probably will require leader-level discussions, and we look forward to those occurring in Bali.

FOREIGN SECRETARY DEL ROSARIO: On the discussions of – about the South China Sea, as far as we know it in the Philippines the West Philippine Sea, we obviously have three concerns regarding that issue. The first concern is we are – like many other nations, we share the importance of freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce. That’s one. Secondly, we are in a territorial dispute issue. That’s the second. And third is we have a particular interest in the West Philippine Sea and the commerce there because of the number of seafarers that we have in the Philippines. As you know, 25 percent of the seafarers of the entire universe are Filipinos.

We do have – if you – we do have a territorial dispute and we are – like other nations who are of interest in the issue, we do have an interest in providing a solution in accordance with the rule of law. Essentially, we’re talking about – or specifically UNCLOS. We are looking for a peaceful resolution to the issue. We are looking for a multilateral approach considering that there are many claimants involved. And we also are looking for an observance of the Declaration of Conduct that’s in place.

We are – that’s – we’re commonly embracing those facets of interest and behavior, but we think that we – the Philippines has contributed significantly to the issue by its introduction of an actionable framework. It’s known as ZoPFFC. It stands for Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Cooperation. It is a actionable framework that we have contrived that will address the segregation of disputed versus the undisputed areas so that the disputed areas can be used for joint development purposes.

As you may know, we had pushed this and we were actually requested by ASEAN to get together and to assemble a maritime legal forum (inaudible) the Philippines. And unfortunately, from the very beginning, we did not have a consensus because only eight of the ten countries came to the table to assist us in vetting this initiative.

But nevertheless, we completed the results of that forum, of that vetting. And as you probably have heard, we were successful in terms of being able to establish a consistency between the actionable framework that we were introducing to that of the DOC and we also have established a relevance of the framework as well to UNCLOS. This, of course, was brought up to the foreign ministers meeting in Bali that’s being held at this time. And I understand that it was referred for further study. We are – we considered that we have not been defeated, that we did do our part in terms of being proactive, in terms of introducing what we felt would be a way to be able to conclude an application of the rule of law to the issue.

But the Philippines itself is – if I may go further with your permission, Madam Secretary, we’re interested in being able to validate our claim. And by this, we hope to be able to go to a dispute settlement forum which is provided by UNCLOS. And there we have five choices. One is ITLOS. The other is ICJ. And then there’s a third and a fourth, which are forms of arbitration. And there’s a fifth, which is a compulsory conciliation. The first and the second require that we approach the forum with the other party, which in this case would be China, but I think China hesitates to do this with us. So we will, in all likelihood, proceed to the fifth mechanism and be able to secure a validation of our claim from that particular mechanism.

MODERATOR: And the last question for today will come from Mr. Willard Cheng of ABS-CBN.

QUESTION: Good afternoon. Pardon my very long question, Madam Secretary. The United States is known for its strong advocacy for human rights, transparency, and accountability. I wonder what are your thoughts about the refusal of the Aquino administration to allow former President Arroyo to seek medical treatment abroad. And having personally known her, are you concerned about the state of health of the former president?

And secondly, Madam Secretary, the United States in recent days has made known its plans to expand and diversify its maritime presence in Asia and the Pacific. What will be the role of the Philippines in these plans? And to what extent will the United States be involved in the disputed Spratlys? And can you elaborate more in your statement that the United States will remain in the corner of the Philippines, and will you support the quest of the Philippines to validate its territorial claims in international arbitration bodies? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as to the first question, this is obviously a matter for the authorities of the Philippine Government and all of its branches, and it would not be appropriate for me as a Secretary of State to comment any further.

We are strongly of the opinion that the disputes that the foreign secretary referred to that exist primarily in the West Philippine Sea between the Philippines and China should be resolved peacefully. The United States does not take a position on any territorial claim, because any nation with a claim has a right to assert it, but they do not have a right to pursue it through intimidation or coercion. They should be following international law, the rule of law, the UN Convention on Law of the Seas, UNCLOS that the foreign secretary has referred to. There are mechanisms within it, as he has just enumerated, for the resolution of disputes. And we stand for the rule of law and we stand for international norms and standards, which is why we support the peaceful resolution.

At the same time, we recognize that our long mutual defense treaty and alliance relationship with the Philippines has to be updated and brought into the 21st century, and that will require working with the Philippines to provide greater support for external defense, particularly maritime domain awareness, defense of one’s maritime boundaries. And we’ve begun some intensive consultations between our two governments to determine exactly what the specifics of such an approach would be, which is why we will be continuing those consultations.

Then in January, the defense secretaries and foreign secretaries will meet in the first-ever 2+2 context. We do this with Japan; we do it with Korea; we do it with Australia. We’re doing it now with the Philippines in Washington. We also are looking forward to President Obama welcoming President Aquino to the White House, to the Oval Office, sometime early in the next year, because we have a lot of work to do. And we want to be very sensitive to the requests and needs of the Government of the Philippines, and we want to make it clear that our military relationship, like every other aspect of our relationship, is one based on mutual respect and mutual interest. And we think that the time has come for us to look at how we can update our military relationship moving into the future, knowing that there are new challenges and new opportunities for us to be working together.

QUESTION: Thank you.


MODERATOR: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. Thank you, Secretary Del Rosario. That concludes our press opportunity for today. (Applause.)

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Remarks At A Luncheon Hosted by President Benigno Aquino


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Presidential Palace
Manila, Philippines
November 16, 2011

PRESIDENT AQUINO: Today we confer upon the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Order of Lakandula, one of the highest honors that can be (inaudible). For deepening and broadening the engagement between United States and the Philippines (inaudible). One of cornerstones our engagement is the Mutual Defense Treaty between our two countries. Today we celebrate the 60th anniversary (inaudible).

Let me also take this occasion to launch our new Partnership for Growth (inaudible). The Partnership for Growth is a new framework for strengthening our economic engagement to promote and support broad base economic growth. These are (inaudible) the relationships between our two countries. Your visit shows us that alliance between the United States and Philippines (inaudible) that this bond (inaudible). Our countries enjoy a friendship forged by shared history, goodwill and (inaudible). The Pacific may separate our countries, but the words and deeds of the past provide us with a bridge that is able to reach across the vast ocean.

With this, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to propose a toast to Secretary Hillary Clinton may (inaudible) stronger relationship (inaudible) United States (inaudible) cooperation (inaudible) mutual benefit and the sincere desire to work for our people (inaudible) American (inaudible) between our two countries as we work to institute lasting and inclusive progress in our two nations (inaudible) as we say in the Philippines (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Mr. President, for that warm welcome. We are so honored to be here for many reasons. Yes, it is the 60th anniversary of the Mutual Defense Treaty that has demonstrated for all to see the strong bonds of solidarity and partnership between our two nations. Yes, it is the 50th anniversary of USAID and the Peace Corps. Both organizations have been partners with Filipino people for those decades. Yes, we did have the opportunity today to renew our bonds in a very tangible manner, first on the deck of the USS Fitzgerald with the signing of the Manila Declaration, and just now with the signing of the Partnership for Growth. Because this relationship is about the future. It certainly honors the past and all that we have done together, but it looks forward and it is about the strong ties between our peoples, because we know that governments and public officials, political leaders exist to support the better lives and futures of the people they serve. And you, Mr. President, and your family have exemplified that principle.

So it is for all of the reasons of the ties, of partnerships, solidarity, cooperation, familial affection between us, that I propose a toast: To the president and to all who serve with him, on behalf of a better future for the children and the next generation, to the bonds between our two countries, and particularly the strong personal relationships that go beyond governments, go beyond treaties and declarations, between the people of the United States and the people of the Philippines, may God bless our common endeavors.

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US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty

Remarks Aboard USS Fitzgerald Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Manila, Philippines
November 16, 2011

Thank you very much, and it is indeed an honor for me to be in Manila to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty and it is wonderful to be onboard the USS Fitzgerald, a fine ship with a dedicated crew under the leadership of Commander Mutty. If only we were underway. And I thank you greatly for hosting us today.I want to acknowledge Secretary Del Rosario, with whom I am working very closely, Secretary Gazmin as well, and all those who are representing the Government of the Philippines. But we also acknowledge General Oban, Vice Admiral Pama, Admiral (inaudible), and Brigadier Bautista, Lieutenant General Rabena, and Mayor Lim, the mayor of Manila.

On the United States side, we have a very distinguished delegation. I think it’s fair to say that this combination of representatives from the State Department and the Defense Department symbolizes the strength not only of the past but even more importantly our future together.

It is a special honor also for me to meet anywhere with U.S. servicemen and women, and I say thank you on behalf of all Americans. You protect us faithfully and courageously, often from faraway cities or remote corners of the ocean. And it’s been a great honor of my life to be able to work with you to ensure that you’re given the support and treatment you deserve from a grateful nation.

As each of us can attest, our mutual defense treaty has provided for our common defense and helped to create cooperation between our countries, not only military cooperation but also political and economic, and not only between governments but most importantly between our people.

That summer day in 1951 when this treaty was signed, our nations faced a very different world. Then we were united against the spread of communism. Filipino and American soldiers had fought side by side in World War II not long before, and this treaty was a testament that we stood united against the challenges of a dangerous world. Our hope was that we could pursue the peace together. And that common devotion to peace has sustained our alliance through the years.

Well, today we meet in a new era where we face new challenges but also where we confront new opportunities. So we must ensure that this alliance remains strong, capable of delivering results for the people of the Philippines, the United States, and our neighbors throughout the Asia Pacific. We are now updating our alliance and all of our alliances in the region with three guidelines in mind. First, we are working to ensure that the core objectives of our alliances have the political support of our people. Second, we want our alliances to be nimble, adaptive, flexible so they can continue to deliver results in this new world. And third, we are making sure that our collective defense capabilities and communications infrastructure are operationally and materially capable of deterring provocation from the full spectrum of state and non-state actors.

To that end, the United States is working with our Filipino allies to ensure that we can meet threats like proliferation and terrorism, and to support the Philippines particularly in the maritime domain as you move to improve your territorial defense and interdiction capabilities. In August, we transferred a Coast Guard cutter here, thanks to the escort that you provided, and we are together considering transferring a second one as well.

We are seeking to broaden and strengthen our partnership beyond defense. The Manila Declaration that we have just signed sets forth a shared vision for strategic, political, economic, and people-to-people cooperation. And later today, Secretary Del Rosario and I will sign a Statement of Principles for our Partnership for Growth to help the Philippines break into the ranks of the world’s high-performing economies. We are working together to increase trade and investment and to strengthen regional institutions like ASEAN, APEC, and the East Asia Summit. The United States-Philippines alliance has been a force for regional security for decades, and through our direct cooperation we are bringing that same spirit to regional forums as well.

As always, the foundation of what we do is really based on the ties connecting our peoples. The United States is home to more than four million Filipinos and Americans of Filipino descent, including several members of the crew of this ship. All told, Filipinos represent the second largest Asian American community in the United States, and we are proud and grateful for the invaluable contributions they make to our democracy, our economy, and our culture.

Looking back, there is much to celebrate, I agree, and we wish to make sure that both of our people understand the benefits that this relationship has brought, is bringing, and will provide for the future.

Now, consider this ship. The USS Fitzgerald has patrolled the entire Western Pacific region this year. It traveled to Australia, Russia, Guam, Saipan, the Marshall Islands, before docking here in Manila Bay. As part of Operation Tomodachi, the search, rescue, and recovery mission following the earthquake, the tsunami, and the nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan, the Fitzgerald operated closest to shore. And this summer, it transited the Gregorio del Pilar the flagship of the Filipino Navy on its maiden voyage across the Pacific. The ships cross-decked and held training sessions for 16 days on emergency response and onboard medical procedures. By the end of the exercise, the officers and crews onboard both vessels achieved new levels of proficiency and partnership.

That is just one example of the work we do every day together not only between our militaries and our governments, our diplomatic corps, but between our businesses, our universities, and our citizens. The vital ties between the Philippines and the United States are strong and growing stronger, and we must continue to invest in them to serve the interests and answer the concerns of the Filipino and American people, to maintain security and the conditions for progress, and to keep following the fruitful pursuits of peace. The United States remains committed to this goal, just as we are committed to our alliance. We are grateful for 60 years of partnership and the progress we have made together, and we look forward to many more years of working closely together on behalf of our two nations, our people, and the world. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

Adding in this slideshow because … wait, wait, wait … she is not the Commander-in-Chief? Wow! Could have fooled me!

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She is always very pretty in the rain.

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Remarks With Philippines Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Goldenberg Mansion
Manila, Philippines
November 12, 2009

FOREIGN SECRETARY ROMULO: Thank you all for joining us this afternoon. It is my privilege to welcome Secretary Hillary Clinton to Manila. She was here as First Lady with President Bill Clinton during our hosting of APEC in 1996, and this time she is here as the U.S. Secretary of State. In the issue that just came out, Time calls the Secretary the most powerful U.S. public diplomat in quite some time; let me add, also the most popular foreign secretary the world over, and in no country more so than here in the Philippines.

Welcome, Madame Secretary. Our long history as friends and allies is deeply rooted in our commitment to freedom and democracy. We fought and shed blood together in the foxholes of Bataan and Corregidor 67 years ago. And we are determined to deepen and broaden our partnership, and to work together in facing today’s challenges. When Typhoon Ketsana in Burma battered our cities and towns, among the first to come to our assistance was the United States – in personnel, in resources, in equipment, in helicopters, in soldier boats, bulldozers, you name it, Los Angeles County forklift rentals.

In my area where I live, the first to rescue survivors were the U.S. Navy in the soldier boat. We are therefore honored to have the opportunity to personally express our deep gratitude to Secretary Clinton for the timely and substantial assistance given by the U.S. Government during our recent natural disasters. As Secretary Clinton has just said, she is now visiting us to show solidarity with our friends in the Philippines who have been battered and have suffered so much. Thank you, Madame Secretary.

I’ll now ask the Secretary to (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Secretary Romulo. I’m so pleased to be here, and I thank you for your warm welcome and the productive discussion that we had today with a number of the leaders of this government. It is always a pleasure for me to be part of something that is so positive as the reaffirmation of our broad and deep relationship, going back so many years together. And certainly, on a personal note, I am delighted to be back in the Philippines. I have very fond memories of my previous visits, and the warmth and generosity of the Filipino people is something that I am deeply grateful for.

I was saddened, as so many were in my country, over the loss of life in the recent storms and the flooding, and I want again to convey the sympathies of President Obama, of the Obama Administration and of the United States to the people of the Philippines. You have shown great resolve and resilience in the face of these calamities. I am proud that the United States has been your partner.

As the Secretary said, we were very pleased that we could respond quickly with our military assets. Filipino and American doctors worked side by side to help thousands of flood victims. We saw our military forces working together to airlift thousands of tons of food, equipment, and other vital cargo. Later today, I will visit a school that was damaged by the flooding, and I look forward to talking with the teachers and the students about what more the United States can do to help.

This cooperation is yet more evidence of the long friendship and broad partnership between the United States and the Philippines. As treaty allies, we are working to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of the 21st century. And I want to commend the Government of the Philippines, which is taking on an increasingly important leadership role in ASEAN, in APEC, across the Pacific region, and globally on issues such as nonproliferation, where the Philippines will be the chair of the Nonproliferation Treaty conference that will be held next year.

And we particularly are grateful for the Philippines’ work as our ASEAN dialogue partner. From a global recession and climate change, to the threats of violent extremism, our nations face shared challenges that demand shared solutions. We have a common commitment to advancing democratic values and human rights in the region, including in Burma. Today, the foreign secretary and I discussed how we can move forward on this comprehensive agenda together.

Of course, our two nations are linked by more than treaty. We have bonds of culture and commerce, we have shared histories and common hopes. The cemeteries here are filled with those who paid the ultimate sacrifice from both of our nations, who fought for freedom in the Pacific. Their memories continue to inspire our alliance, as do the values that they gave their lives to defend. And I am personally very pleased that an injustice has finally been corrected with the passage of the assistance for Filipino veterans who served side by side with our United States military forces.

I am also very proud that we have such a large, vibrant, active Filipino American community in the United States, and we want to do even more to demonstrate the connections between Filipino Americans and those here in the Philippines. Organizations such as Feed The Hungry have sent money and food to those most in need, and we look to making sure that those connections are even stronger.

So, sir, we talked about a lot today. We have a great opportunity to continue our work together, and I am confident that we can make the future even better than the present or the past. Thank you very much.


MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton. Thank you very much, Secretary Romulo. The first question will be raised by a member of the DFA press corps, Mr. (inaudible).

QUESTION: Good afternoon, Secretary Clinton. Welcome to the Philippines. This is our question: Will the U.S. forces continue helping Philippine troops in pursuing the Abu Sayyaf militants, considering that the Philippine Government is (inaudible) over the VFA? And what specific role does Washington want to play in the Mindanao peace process?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say that the United States is committed to a strong partnership and alliance with the Philippines, and I am here today to reaffirm that commitment. The Visiting Forces Agreement is an important expression of our partnership. It is based on mutual respect and mutual interest. And our service members, as we have seen in these last natural disasters, are ready to provide assistance where it is asked for, and to work side by side with the military of the Philippines. I am proud of what our service members have done in helping to respond to the devastating storms and the floods.

With respect to the peace process, the United States supports the ongoing efforts of the Government of the Philippines to bring a comprehensive peace. People have been seeking such a peace, and I want the Philippines to know that the international community, including the United States, stands ready to assist. But this is ultimately up to the people of the Philippines and to your government leadership. We’re encouraged by the ceasefire, and the report that I received today about the negotiating efforts is very promising.

So we will wish the very best to those who are attempting to bring an end to the conflict and will support you in any way that is appropriate.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, ma’am. The second question will be asked by a member of the U.S. (inaudible) media.

QUESTION: Secretary Romulo, Secretary Clinton, (inaudible) for both of you. What can you tell us about the future of the U.S. advisory force in southern Philippines? Is it time to begin reducing its numbers so that the troops can be deployed in Afghanistan and elsewhere?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say that I don’t discuss military decisions. That is more appropriately worked out between our governments and our militaries. But I will just reiterate that the United States stands ready to assist our friends in the Philippines who are seeking to counter terrorism and the threat of extremism, and we will be willing to support them in any way that is appropriate that they request. But the relationship between our countries and between our militaries is very strong and cooperative, and we look forward to continuing that.

FOREIGN SECRETARY ROMULO: Let me state that under the VFA, the United States forces are here to assist, advise, and train. It’s limited to that. As far as combat matters are concerned, that’s purely Filipino.

But on the other hand, in addition to the assisting, training, and advising, there is also the social-civic, as well as the humanitarian aspect of the undertaking. And the humanitarian aspect came out into the fore in the recent Ketsana, in part, where U.S. personnel were able to deploy not only personnel – I think there were about 2,600 – but also equipment, helicopters, soldier boats, forklift, bulldozers, and other things, and immediately assist our people.

And let me say that in my particular city, the one who left with the first search and rescue were U.S. Navy personnel with a soldier boat. So this is the other aspect. So between the two – the socioeconomic and the humanitarian, as well as the supporting, advising, and training – I think it has worked very well for us.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. The third question will be asked by Mr. Howie Severino of GMA-7.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, good afternoon. Welcome to the Philippines.


QUESTION: Ma’am, you were quoted at the Planned Parenthood national conference several months ago that, quote, “Reproductive rights will be a key to the foreign policy of the Obama Administration.” How will this principle be applied in the Philippines, especially considering the widely known opposition to artificial contraceptives here?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, as with any policy, we work with our partners and our allies, and it is up to the people and the Government of the Philippines to accept any assistance that we might be willing to offer. So I know that this is a matter of concern in society here in the Philippines, and I respect that, and we certainly do not have any intention or plan to preempt or otherwise go beyond or around what the attitudes of society are.

On a personal note, I would only add that I believe strongly that family planning is an important aspect of development. And I’ve seen this around the world, and I think empowering women to be able to make choices that are in the best interests of the children they already have and the family size that they desire increases educational outcomes, it increases income generations, it provides a much stronger basis for human development.

And so the reason I said what I said, which you quoted from, is we have a lot of experience now that trying to empower and educate women so that they are able to make these decisions and they have access to family planning is not only a positive for the woman and her family, but for the larger society. And I think that is the other point that I would make, but again, I would reiterate all of these decisions are certainly up to the people and the Government of the Philippines.

MODERATOR: The fourth question will come from Mr. Matt Lee of the Associated Press.

QUESTION: My apologies, Mr. Secretary. As so often happens on these trips, there are developments from outside of the host country that the traveling press’s wires are asking a question on. (Laughter.) So with that –

SECRETARY CLINTON: They never apologize to me, sir. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: With that, Madame Secretary —

SECRETARY CLINTON: You’re having a very good influence on our American press.

QUESTION: As you know, Madame Secretary, Ambassador Eikenberry has expressed some deep concerns and reservations about a buildup – a large buildup of troops in Afghanistan, given the concerns about corruption in President Karzai’s government. I know that the President has not yet made his decision on how to go forward and that you are loathe to offer your advice to us before you give it to him, but I’m wondering if you could talk: one, about those concerns about corruption more broadly; and two, about whether those concerns should play a role in the determination of exactly how the U.S. goes forward in Afghanistan. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Matt, let me make very clear that I continue to be loathe to share any of the advice that the President has received in the course of his review. I think it has been an extremely thorough and thoughtful process, and I will continue to honor the right of the President to hear from any of his government members or those outside of government, and to then add that to the process of his decision making.

But on the separate question with respect to corruption, lack of transparency, poor governance, absence of the rule of law, the concerns that have been expressed not only by the United States but by others, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown and many of our allies, are ones that I share. The Government of Afghanistan has to accept greater responsibility for its own defense by participating in the training and deployment of an effective, professional security force. It has to do more to respond to the legitimate needs of the people of Afghanistan to deliver services – not just security, but education and health, the kinds of services that the people of any country should expect from their government.

And we’re looking to President Karzai, as he forms a new government, to take action that will demonstrate, not to the international community, but first and foremost to his own people, that his second term will respond to the needs that are so manifest. And I think that the corruption issue really goes to the heart of whether the people of Afghanistan feel that the government is on their side, is working for them. Corruption is corrosive in any society. When leaders enrich themselves at the expense of their people, when they put their own fortunes ahead of the fortune of their people, it has a very unfortunate impact: People don’t trust the government, they don’t rely on the government, they can’t imagine a better life for themselves, because they don’t think their leaders are working to obtain that for them.

And so we are concerned and we have expressed those concerns, and we’re looking for measures of accountability and transparency that will demonstrate a clear commitment to the kind of governance and outcomes that the people of Afghanistan deserve to see from their government, and that the international community should be able to look to as we move forward in our efforts to try to rid Afghanistan of the terrorists that not only affect their lives, but pose a threat to us and to people around the world.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, take it out of the review because, again, I don’t want to get into the review. That’s the President’s prerogative. But of course, we’re looking at it. We look at it every day in the State Department. If we’re going to be providing development assistance, we want to be sure it gets to where it’s intended. I have, as you probably know, required that we look at every single contract that goes into Afghanistan, that we do an in-depth review to try to determine is it producing the results that we expect, is the money actually improving the lives of the people of Afghanistan or not. So even before the review, we were taking a hard look at how business is conducted inside Afghanistan.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, ma’am. And for our last question – and I’m sure a lot of you have questions to ask – we have Ms. Dana Batnag of Jiji press.

QUESTION: Good afternoon, ma’am. There is a scheduled meeting on Saturday in Singapore between the U.S. and Burma. Will you be the one leading the U.S. delegation? What is the U.S. strategic interests in Myanmar? And is the participation of Aung San Suu Kyi in the election next year necessary to make it credible?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, there is not a meeting. There may very well be the opportunity for our leaders, including myself, including the President, to meet the leaders of Burma – something that we have not done before. But we just recently concluded a very successful visit by Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell and Deputy Assistant Secretary Scot Marciel, who is with me, to Burma, where they met at length with not only government officials, but more importantly, in an unmonitored setting with Aung San Suu Kyi, with members of her party, with others who represent opposition voices and concerns, with representatives of ethnic minorities that are worried about their treatment at the hands of the current government.

And we have made it very clear we are not lifting sanctions on Burma, but we are trying to encourage Burma to conduct the kind of internal dialogue with all of the stakeholders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, that could lead to there being fair, free, and credible elections next year. We think that is an essential first step. We are continuing to call for the freedom of Aung San Suu Kyi. We believe that her detention over so many years is baseless and not founded on any concern other than that she is a leader of the political opposition.

So I don’t want to prejudge what the Burmese people themselves, if given the chance, might decide for themselves. But I will underscore our skepticism about an election that does not include all of the people or their representatives who are in opposition. It’s up to the individuals to decide who runs and who doesn’t run, but there should be no doubt that the United States wants to see an open, free, credible election process. And that’s what we’re calling on from the leadership of Burma, but we don’t believe that we can cause that to happen from the outside.

What we want to do, along with friends like the Philippines and other ASEAN members, is to encourage, urge, persuade the leadership of Burma to enter into this dialogue with their own people, to create the conditions for legitimacy that should be apparent when you have an election. And that’s what we’re looking to achieve.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, ma’am.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) I was just wondering if there is a plan to release Suu Kyi so she would be able to participate or prepare for the coming – for next year’s election. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, if we were in charge of the plan, that would be the plan, because we think she should be released. We don’t think she should be in detention. We believe that she has every right, as any person should have, and certainly that she has demonstrated over the years a commitment to democracy, to participate in the active democratic life of her country as she chooses, not as the United States chooses and not as the Burmese leadership chooses, but as she chooses.

So we’re going to continue to call for her unconditional release, and we want to see this kind of dialogue among all of the various parties within the country, and then they should determine how to go forward. It shouldn’t be up to us to determine that. So we want to create the process that would result in a free, fair, and credible election, so that whoever wished to participate or chose to participate would be able to do so, the results would be legitimate in the eyes of the world. That is what we are hoping for the Burmese people.

MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you very much. May we request, Secretary Romulo, for a final few words, if he so wishes?

FOREIGN SECRETARY ROMULO: Well, I’d like to thank, first of all, the Secretary of State for being with us today. We have had a very fruitful and productive meeting. And I’d like to thank the members of the press, both the foreign press and the local press, for the questions, which I think brought forth productive answers. And I hope that the Secretary will have a pleasant stay here in the Philippines, because as I said, the Filipinos love her. I told her that there are Hillary fans and fanatics here, and therefore we are most happy that she is here with us. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Secretary Romulo. Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton. That concludes our press conference.

This little snippet contains some of the Secretary’s comments about Burma made at this conference.
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In Manila today, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo bestowed the Sikatuna award with the rank of Datu, a title reserved for tribal chiefs and monarchs in the Philippines, upon our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. President Arroyo recognizes a chief when she sees one! As you may be aware, she was a classmate of President Bill Clinton’s at Georgetown.

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