US ambassador holds 'friendly meeting' with Duterte

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 28 2017 01:56 PM

US ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim in this file photo as State Department's Special Representative for North Korea Policy at the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of Japan's Foreign Ministry in Tokyo on September 11, 2016. Kazuhiro Nogi, AFP

MANILA - The United States government asserted anew its commitment to the development of Mindanao during its envoy's recent visit to southern Philippines, the US Embassy said Tuesday.

US Ambassador Sung Y. Kim traveled to Davao on Monday, and the Embassy said he had a "friendly, productive meeting" with President Rodrigo Duterte, where they discussed the "extensive ‎bilateral partnership"of the countries, and cooperation on counter-terrorism, child protection, piracy, and economic development in Mindanao.

During the meeting, Kim also highlighted US-Philippine partnerships in the region that strengthen the local economy and promote peace and stability, according to the Embassy.

While in Davao, Kim also told American businessmen in the region of the US government's "wholehearted support of the vibrant US-Philippine economic relationship, and [emphasized] the Embassy’s commitment to development in Mindanao."

The Embassy noted that overall, the American government has pledged more than P3.5-billion for dozens of projects in Mindanao over the next few years, including the Roll-on, Roll-off, or RO-RO, nautical highway, which will connect Davao and General Santos cities to Bitung on Sulawesi, Indonesia on April 30. 

"This accomplishment will help U.S. and Philippine businesses operating in Mindanao increase their exports at great savings," it said.

US-MINDANAO RELATIONS

In line with Women’s History Month, Kim noted the US Agency for International Development’s (US AID) funding of a project training women to weave nets that stop erosion and landslides along the roadways in Ramon Magsaysay, Zamboanga del Sur.

Kim also shared that demand from US clients generates an estimated 40,000 well-paying BPO jobs in Mindanao. 

He added, Cargill, a U.S. agricultural corporation, supports tens of thousands of Mindanao farmers as it exports Php7.5 billion worth of coconut oil every year, mostly from Mindanao.