Speaker says PBBM-VP Harris meet bolsters PH security, opened more economic opportunities for Filipinos

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez today said the bilateral meeting between President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and US Vice President Kamala Harris not only served to enhance the country’s security but also opened doors for more economic opportunities for our people.

Pres. Marcos and Vice President Harris met on Wednesday (US time) before the start of the 2023 Asia Pacific Cooperation Summit in San Francisco, California in the United States.

During the meeting, the two officials reaffirmed the strength of the alliance between the United States and the Philippines and discussed ongoing efforts to deepen our security ties and expand commercial and economic cooperation.

“The successful bilateral meeting between President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and US Vice President Kamala Harris, a testament to the enduring strength of the alliance between the United States and the Philippines,” Romualdez said.

“Of paramount importance is the reaffirmation during their meeting of our shared commitment to upholding international rules and norms, particularly in the South China Sea,” he added.

The far-reaching significance of this meeting, according to Romualdez, demonstrates the importance of taking advantage of opportunities for the President to engage with fellow leaders of government to promote the country’s national interest.

The meeting between Pres. Marcos and Vice President Harris came on the heels of escalating aggressive actions by China in the South China Sea recently, such as the use of water cannon and ramming of Philippine vessels out to resupply soldiers stationed in BRP Sierra Madre beached in Ayungin Shoal.

What Pres. Marcos and Vice President Harris have demonstrated during their bilateral meeting is a united front in promoting adherence to a rules-based order, ensuring the protection of the rights of nations in the region, according to Romualdez.

But an equally significant outcome of the bilateral meeting, according to the Speaker, is the focus on expanding commercial and economic cooperation.

“Pres. Marcos and Vice President Harris recognize the potential for mutual growth and prosperity through collaboration, fostering economic opportunities that will benefit both nations and their people,” said Romualdez, leader of the 300-plus strong House of Representatives.

A readout of the meeting released by the White House said Vice President Harris also announced a new partnership with the Philippine government to grow and diversify the global semiconductor ecosystem under the International Technology Security and Innovation (ITSI) Fund, created by the CHIPS Act of 2022.

Earlier, Pres. Marcos assured the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in the US that our government agencies and the private sector are ready to work with the American association if it plans to invest or expand in the Philippines.

He said the Philippines aspires to participate more significantly in the US semiconductor value chain in relation to the CHIPS Act and with the Executive Order of President Joe Biden to work with American allies and partners to strengthen the collective supply chain resilience.

As the US increases its front-end wafer capacity for advanced technologies and products under the CHIPS Act, the Pres. Marcos said the Philippines stands ready to absorb and support the additional corresponding capacity for assembly, packaging, and testing that will be required.

“US investments into the semiconductor sector will create more jobs for our people, generate considerable revenue for the government, and advance our capabilities with the transfer of technology through such partnership,” Romualdez said.

As the Philippines has long been an indispensable part of the electronics global value chain and a center of excellence for electronic manufacturing services, Romualdez said the country presents a prudent choice for investment by American semiconductor businesses.

The Philippines is home to about 500 semiconductors and electronics companies, including seven out of the world’s top 20 chipmakers: Texas Instruments, Philips, Fairchild, Analog, Sanyo, On Semi, and Rohm.