(Eagle News) – The recently appointed head of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US State Department said he is prepared to continue to share information to the Philippine government to help in the war against drugs in a way that will respect human rights.
United States Assistant Secretary David R. Stilwell said that both the US and the Philippines faced the challenge of illicit drug use, and that they remain committed to working together on “evidence-based approaches.”
“I want to continue sharing information and best practices to jointly combat this common challenge in a manner that will respect human rights and the rule of law,” he said in a statement.
“Both of our countries face the challenge of illicit drug use,” Stilwell noted.
“We remain committed to working together on evidence-based approaches to reducing drug demand by improving prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services,” he said.
-Enhanced economic cooperation-
Stilwell also believed that the US should enhance economic cooperation with the Philippine government, and help in the current government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
“We must also enhance our economic cooperation. We welcome progress on legislation which could provide more opportunities for U.S. companies, especially in infrastructure, as part of the Build, Build, Build program,” he said.
“We look forward to building on strong momentum in areas such as energy, trade, intellectual property, and science and technology,” he said.
The US official also said that he was proud of the continued commitment of both the US and Philippine governments to enhance “people-to-people ties.”
“The bonds between our nations forged out of cultural and educational exchanges are abiding and fortify our relationship as friends, partners, and allies,” Stilwell said.
Stilwell, co-chaired the recent US-Philippines “Bilateral Strategic Dialogue” held from July 15 to 16 in Manila.
He was assigned as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs only on June 20 this year.
Before this assignment, he served in the US Air Force for 35 years, retiring in 2015 with the rank of Brigadier General as the Asia advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
The “Bilateral Strategic Dialogue” brought together senior leaders to discuss cooperation on defense, economics, rule of law, and regional diplomacy between the United States and the Philippines.
U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim joined the U.S. delegation co-chaired by Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Stilwell and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall G. Schriver.
In addition to Ambassador Kim and Assistant Secretaries Stilwell and Schriver, the U.S. delegation included Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Joseph H. Felter, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Hugo Yon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Jorgan K. Andrews, and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia Mark D. Clark.