By Imee Charlee C. Delavin, Reporter

US to help establish coast watch center

Posted on April 30, 2014

THE UNITED STATES government will help the Philippines establish a coast watch center to enhance its maritime border security and maritime domain, a Malacañang official said yesterday.

In a statement, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio B. Coloma, Jr. said US President Barack H. Obama vowed to assist the Philippines in creating the National Coast Watch Center (NCWC).

Mr. Coloma said the matter was discussed during the bilateral meeting between Mr. Obama and Philippine President Benigno S. C. Aquino III on Monday.

“The NCWC is an interagency mechanism which aims to enhance maritime border security, as well as in governing the country’s maritime domain, pursuant to Executive Order 57 issued in September 2011,” he said.

The Communications Secretary also said the US President has expressed desire to promote enhanced maritime information-sharing with its allies including the Philippines, Japan and Australia to easily manage maritime conflicts and disputes.

Meanwhile, Mr. Aquino thanked the United States for its continuous financial assistance to further boost the country’s economy as the two countries have agreed to further strengthen their economic cooperation.

Mr. Aquino, in a statement, noted that he and the visiting President recognize the importance of strong economic engagement for the continued growth of both the Philippines and the US.

“We expressed our appreciation for the US’s support to our government’s programs under the Partnership for Growth (PFG) framework, which enhances the policy environment for economic growth through a $145-million total planned contribution from the USAID,” he said in the statement delivered during the joint press conference with the US President on Monday.

“US support is also coursed through the Millennium Challenge Corp., which supports the implementation of projects on road infrastructure, poverty reduction and good governance with a $434-million grant from 2011-2016,” he added.

The US Millennium Challenge Corp., along with other US agencies, have joined together to coordinate the PFG, which is a partnership between the US and a select group of high-performing developing countries to accelerate and sustain broad-based economic growth.

Mr. Aquino also said the government welcomes the substantive agreement between the Philippines and the US on the terms and concessions for the US to support the Philippines’ request for the extension of special treatment of rice imports until 2017.

Citing the US Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to reinstate Philippine aviation to a Category 1 status, Mr. Aquino said such will also create mutual benefit for both the US and the Philippines. “As more routes are opened between the US and the Philippines, it will create more business opportunities, as well as facilitate increased tourism and business travel,” he said.

Mr. Obama also congratulated the Philippine President for his efforts to reform the Philippine bureaucracy.

“I congratulated President Aquino on the reforms that he has pursued to make the Philippines more competitive through our partnership for growth,” he said.

“We are going to keep working together to support these efforts so that more Filipinos can share in this nation’s economic progress because growth has to be broad-based and it has to be inclusive,” he added.

During his two-day state visit, the US President also renewed the US government’s commitment to help the Philippines address the devastating effects of climate change and make its communities less vulnerable to extreme storms like typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) that wreck havoc in Central Visayas last November.

Following this, Mr. Aquino expressed his gratitude to the US for its continuous assistance to the Philippines in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda last year.