VP Sara meets US 2nd Gentleman, officials, poised to join UN meet in New York in September
Emhoff, husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris, met with Duterte-Carpio at the Westin Philippine Plaza Hotel accompanied by US Embassy in Manila Charge d’Affaires Heather Variava, and other US delegates, including Fil-Am Congressman Robert “Bobby” Scott of Virginia.
During the courtesy call, Emhoff congratulated Duterte for her “overwhelming victory” in the 2022 vice presidential race as well as her role as incoming DepEd chief.
WASHINGTON/MANILA – Douglas Emhoff, husband of United States Vice President Kamala Harris, led the US delegation to the inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. organized by President Joseph Biden.
“As Second Gentleman, Mr. Emhoff is working to share the priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration with people across the country and around the world,” the White House said, adding that Emhoff had traveled dozens of states and two countries during his first year as the second gentleman.
The members of the delegation include Filipino American US Representative from Virginia Bobby Scott whose grandfather hails from Tarlac and Filipino American Nani Coloretti, who is the Deputy Director of the Office of the Management and Budget in Washington DC.and the highest FilAm official in the Biden administration.
Other members of the delegation are: Heather Variava, Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, US Embassy Manila; Admiral James Winnefeld, Jr. (Ret.), former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Edgard Kagan, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for East Asia and Oceania, National Security Council; and Chantale Wong, US Director of the Asian Development Bank.
Biden was the first world leader to personally call and congratulate Marcos after his landslide win in the May 2022 elections.
During the call, Biden said he looked forward to further strengthening the US-Philippines alliance while expanding bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas, including the fight against coronavirus disease 2019, climate crisis, promoting broad-based economic growth, and respect for human rights.
During the phone conversation, Marcos assured Biden that “the Philippines has always held the United States in high regard as a friend, an ally, and a partner.”
Among the things they discussed were the strengthening of ties in trade and diplomacy, as well as their common interest in democracy, self-determination and economic recovery.
At press time, Biden was in the Bavarian Alps in Germany attending the three-day G-7 summit, the annual meeting of the leading democratic economies.
Later, Biden will participate in a gathering of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries where they expect to discuss the Ukraine-Russia war.
Marcos has earlier invited Biden to attend his inauguration in a phone call last month.
Early this month, United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Ruth Sherman met Marcos in Manila and discussed bolstering people-to-people ties between the US and the Philippines.
She is the first top US official to meet with the next Philippine leader.
Both Sherman and Marcos agreed on the importance of cooperation among nations to strengthen the economy, including public-private partnerships, clean energy, and a digital economy.
They also expressed their intention to boost the US-Philippine Alliance to security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the world.
US spokesperson Ned Price said Sherman discussed opportunities for the US and the Philippines to deepen their alliance and economic relationship as well as to advance human rights.
Marcos earlier said while he welcomes any economic assistance, he noted the need to strengthen the partnership between the Philippines and the US in terms of trade.
He stressed that he prefers “trade and not aid” from the US under his incoming administration.
He also expressed interest in the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic framework and the launching of joint ventures between Philippine and American firms.
Two weeks following the 9 May elections, Marcos has welcomed several envoys at his headquarters in Manila, who wished to congratulate him on his victory.
One of them was Variava, with whom Marcos discussed the extension of the Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US.
Marcos said he raised the issue as he admitted that security concerns “have always been a big part” of the country’s relations with the US. (Claire Morales True)