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21/05/2018: GPH OFFICIALS UPDATE HAWAII’S FILCOM ON DUTERTE ADMINISTRATION PRIORITIES, PROGRAMS

(L-R): Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez; Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana; Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea; Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano; Interior and Local Government Officer-In-Charge Eduardo Año; and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.

The Filipino American community in Hawaii, one of the largest concentrations of Filipinos in the United States, was given a rare opportunity to hear firsthand from visiting high-ranking Philippine government officials updates on the Duterte administration's priorities and programs during the Townhall Meeting organized by the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu, Hawaii on 19 May 2018.

Executive Secretary Medialdea, the head and the highest-ranking official of the Office of the President, led a delegation of high-level officials composed of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano, National Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, Interior and Local Government Officer-In-Charge Eduardo Año, US Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Teodoro Locsin Jr., for an official visit to Honolulu, Hawaii to meet with Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., Commander of the US Pacific Command and the Filipino community in Hawaii.

While in Honolulu, Executive Secretary Medialdea and some members of the delegation also met with Hawaii Governor David Ige and had briefings with officials of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI-APCSS), the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

The official visit culminated in a Townhall Meeting with the Filipino American community, organized by the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu. Hawaii’s Filipino Americans, estimated to number at 378,000, account for 25 percent of the state’s population, making it the largest ethnic group in Hawaii.

In his welcome remarks, Consul General Joselito A. Jimeno gave a brief overview of the program and expressed appreciation to the visiting officials for giving the Filipino community in Hawaii the rare opportunity to hear from them their points of view and updates on the Philippine Government’s plans, programs and strategies.

During the Townhall Meeting, the officials apprised the Filipino community of several pressing issues concerning the Philippines, both domestic and international. Executive Secretary Medialdea provided updates on the Duterte administration’s whole-of-government priorities such as the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, and the promotion of public safety and security in the country; Secretary Cayetano informed the community of current foreign policy concerns as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs’ assistance-to-nationals (ATN) mandate; Secretary Lorenzana’s remarks underscored peace and security in the Philippines and in the region, as well as the latest on Philippine veterans affairs; OIC Año provided details on the Marawi rehabilitation and the temporary closure of Boracay.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Romualdez spoke about Philippines-United States relations, which include immigration reform, Permanent Representative to the United Nations provided perspective on Philippine work in the United Nations.

The officials also shared their insights and fielded questions from the community on a myriad of issues which range from West Philippine Sea, to K-12 education, the Philippine economy, and renovation of the century-old Philippine Consulate building, among other issues. (END).