Obama cites US aid to PH in State of the Union speech


Posted at Jan 29 2014 03:25 PM | Updated as of Jan 30 2014 05:32 PM

MANILA – US President Barack Obama stressed the need to focus on the Asia-Pacific, especially allies who have been struck by calamities.

"We will continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific where we support our allies, shape a future of greater security and prosperity, and extend a hand to those devastated by disasters as we did in the Philippines where our marines and civilians rushed to aid those battered by a typhoon," he said in his State of the Union address.

In November, the Philippines was struck by super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) killing over 6,000 people and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes and infrastructure.

The US was among the countries that extended humanitarian assistance to the Philippines by sending immediate relief and personnel to typhoon-devastated areas.

During his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Obama also cited the other efforts that the US is making around the world.

"Let's remember that our leadership is defined not just by our defense against threats but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe, to forge greater cooperation, to expand new markets, to free people from fear and want. And no one is better positioned to take advantage of those opportunities than America," Obama said.

He said described their alliance with Europe as "the strongest the world has ever known".

"From Tunisia to Burma, we're supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy. In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully and to have a say in their country's future. Across Africa, we're bringing together businesses and governments to double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty. In the Americas, we're building new ties of commerce, but we're also expanding cultural and educational exchanges among young people," he said.

He added, "We do these things because they help promote our long-term security. And we do them because we believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation".