MANILA - Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. received U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) this past June 9th. In her farewell call to Secretary Locsin, Deputy Secretary Sherman personally thanked him for his significant contributions to the Philippine-United States alliance, especially in light of the restoration of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in July 2021.
|SFA Teodoro L. Locsin Jr, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman (DFA-OPCD Photo by Philip Fernandez)|
Secretary Locsin welcomed the United States’ reaffirmation of its commitment to the alliance. The Deputy Secretary said that the U.S. will help the Philippines meet its defense modernization goals and address the daunting regional and global challenges both countries face.
Deputy Secretary Sherman likewise committed to support the Philippines’ economic recovery efforts, including its transition to clean energy and digitalization. The United States remains an important and strategic trading and investment partner of the Philippines.
Both sides also agreed to engage constructively on protecting democracy and human rights at home and abroad. Secretary Locsin reiterated the Philippines’ invitation for the U.S. to support the three-year UN Joint Program on Human Rights (2021-2024), which demonstrates the highest level of the Philippines’ commitment to inclusive partnerships and continuing reforms in the areas of human rights, accountability and rule of law, and to investing in the capacity-strengthening of national institutions.
Prior to the call on the Secretary, Deputy Secretary Sherman also called on President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. The Deputy Secretary is in the country to meet with both outgoing and incoming administrations to discuss concrete ways to further strengthen the relations amidst the Philippine Government transition.
Accompanied by other U.S. State Department, National Security Council and U.S. Embassy Manila officials, Deputy Secretary Sherman assured the President-elect of the United States’ commitment to work closely with his incoming administration, particularly in areas of mutual interest such as in trade and investments, climate change, pandemic response, and technology. Both sides also voiced their strong interest in maintaining peace and promoting prosperity in the region.
Deputy Secretary Sherman is the highest ranking State Department official to visit the country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Deputy Secretary is visiting the Philippines for the first time, as part of a series of visits to the region.