MANILA, Philippines – In his statement congratulating the Philippines for the country’s 115th anniversary of independence, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recalled his “long connection” with the Philippines.
“On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to congratulate the people of the Philippines on the 115th anniversary of your nation’s independence,” Kerry said in a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Tuesday, June 11.
“The United States is proud of our rich history and enduring alliance with the Philippines, an important democracy and strategic partner in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region,” he added.
Kerry recalled his “long connection” to the Philippines. He was in the Philippines during the tumultuous times of the Marcos administration. He was an election observer during the 1986 Snap Elections.
Kerry received in 2011 the Order of Sikatuna from the Philippine government. It hangs on his office wall.
“I’m especially proud of my long connection to the Philippines dating back to the first amendment I ever passed as a United States Senator, calling for free and fair elections,” Kerry said in the statement.
“Not long after, I found myself on the ground in Manila as an election observer for those hard-fought 1986 presidential elections that restored democracy to a people yearning to be freed from dictatorship,” he added.
“One of the first possessions I hung on the wall of my office at the State Department was the Order of Sikatuna I received from the government of the Philippines just a couple years ago,” he added.
Kerry said the U.S. can help sustain the Philippines’ economic growth.
“Today, our two countries enjoy ever-broadening cooperation on challenges from countering extremism to strengthening economic ties. Through our Partnership for Growth, we can help sustain the Philippines impressive economic growth and our joint efforts in the Open Government Partnership are advancing good governance, accountability, and vibrant civil societies.” – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com