Kerry arrives Dec 17, to visit Tacloban

Paterno R. Esmaquel II
US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Yolanda-hit Tacloban City on December 18

PUSHING THROUGH. US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in the Philippines on Dec 17. File photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – US Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to the Philippines will finally push through on Tuesday, December 17, and will include a visit to typhoon-hit Tacloban City.

Kerry, who will stay in the Philippines for two days, will discuss regional issues and humanitarian assistance after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

In a statement, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Kerry will hold a joint press briefing with Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario past 2 pm on Tuesday.

The US State Department said Kerry will also attend a meeting, as well as a dinner, with President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday.

This “will afford them an opportunity to speak in depth about the relationship and issues of common interest.”

Deal on US troops

Kerry will meet with American businessmen on Wednesday, December 18. He will end his trip by visiting Tacloban to discuss humanitarian aid for survivors of the world’s strongest typhoon on record that has killed more than 6,000 people and affected 4 million residents of the Visayas.

During his visit, America’s top diplomat is also expected to discuss a proposed deal to boost US troops in the Philippines. (READ: PH, US resume bases access talks after impasse.)

Recently, the US claimed Yolanda proves the need for a proposed agreement to increase their troops in the Philippines. (READ: New US envoy: PH needs us more after Haiyan.)

Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile said Yolanda is not enough to justify increased US rotational presence in the Philippines. (READ: Enrile: Yolanda not justification for US-PH deal.)

Kerry initially planned to visit the Philippines in October, but a tropical storm poised to hit the country forced him to cancel his trip. (READ: Kerry blames PH trip, blames storm.) –

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email