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13/06/2012: Senator McCain Proclaims Bipartisan US Congressional Support for the Philippines

Ambassador Jose Cuisia (left picture) and Senator John McCain (right picture) address guests at the reception in Washington, DC commemorating the anniversary of Philippine independence.

13 June 2012, Washington DC. “When it comes to fulfilling our obligations and expanding our military cooperation under the Mutual Defense Treaty, America’s commitment is unshakable and Republicans and Democrats stand together with the Philippines.”  These were words uttered by Senator John McCain in the remarks he delivered as the guest of honor during the commemoration yesterday of the 114th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence in Washington, D.C.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. and Mrs. Victoria J. Cuisia hosted the traditional vin d’honneur at the Four Season’s Hotel with close to 300 guests in attendance.  Making the event possible were corporate sponsorships from Smart Philippines, Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life), International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), and Jollibee Foods Corporation.

Among those present were officials from the U.S. government, congressional staffers, members of the business community, representatives from think tanks, non-governmental organizations and the academe, as well as leaders of the Filipino American community.  High-level U.S. government officials included Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell.

In his remarks, Ambassador Cuisia underscored the gains that have been achieved under the Aquino administration as a consequence of the President’s good governance agenda.  He noted the resolve of the Philippine government in rooting out corruption, as reflected in the recent impeachment of the country’s Chief Justice.  The ambassador also cited the flourishing ties between the Philippines and the U.S., which have been further strengthened as a result of President Aquino’s constructive and productive meeting with President Barack Obama at the Oval Office last June 8.

“Much of the credit in the renewed vitality (in Philippine-U.S. relations) goes to President Aquino, who I had the pleasure of meeting in my visit to Manila last January and again during the President’s successful visit to Washington,” said Sen. McCain.  “When it comes to enhancing the Philippines’ defense capabilities from increased maritime domain awareness to additional ships to help patrol the West Philippine Sea, Republicans and Democrats stand together with the Philippines.”

Sen. McCain, the son and grandson of U.S. Navy admirals, is the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Representing Arizona, he is one of the most senior Republican Senators and was the Republican presidential nominee in the 2008 United States election.  Senator McCain recently signed up as co-sponsor of the SAVE Our Industries Act.

Also during the program, Ambassador Cuisia recognized two Filipino Americans – Dr. Jorge Garcia and Ms. Josie Natori - for their outstanding achievement in their profession and in the community, which contributed significantly to building the image of Filipinos and the Philippines here in the United States.  Dr. Garcia, a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon at the Washington Hospital Center, is the Philippines’ foremost heart surgeon and is one of the best cardiac surgeons in the world.  In the Philippines, Dr. Garcia was a pioneer in setting up a heart surgery program to transfer skills and technology to talented Filipino doctors. He is also the Founding Chairman of the world-class Asian Hospital and Medical Center in the Philippines.

Ms. Natori, a world renowned fashion designer, is the brains and heart behind the global fashion brand, Natori. Her creations, which appeal to different kinds of women and grace fashion magazines, are known to depict Filipino style and elegance. As consultant and curator for the Manila FAME 2012 design expo, Ms. Natori was instrumental in bringing together Filipino fashion designers to launch the brand, “Manila wear”. Ms. Natori lends her creativity, expertise and business acumen to the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry to make Manila FAME Asia’s Design Trendsetter.

Ambassador Cuisia presents Dr. Garcia (left picture) and Ms. Natori (right picture) with certificates of recognition for their exemplary achievements in their profession.

Providing the evening’s entertainment were performances of Philippine dances - Maglalatik by students from the University of Maryland College Park Filipino Cultural Association, and Putritos by students from George Washington University’s Philippine Cultural Society.

Students from University of Maryland (left picture) and George Washington University (right picture) perform traditional Philippine dances.

Earlier in the morning, the officers and staff of the Philippine Embassy held a flag-raising ceremony to kick-off the celebration of the country’s national day.  Other activities planned to commemorate this year’s Philippine Independence Day anniversary are “Brown Strokes on a White Canvass,” an art exhibit featuring works of local Filipino American artists, a cultural program for Filipino American students to be taught by members of the Association of Filipino Teachers in America-Maryland, and a documentary on Arnel Pineda, lead singer of Journey.  Details of these events will be made known to the public as soon as they are available.  (END)