Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano (3rd from right) with members of the Filipino community in Washington, D.C. during the town hall meeting held at the Philippine Embassy.
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA (DWDD) – “From my meeting with the first Filipino-American Solicitor General of the United States, to my interaction with various FilCom groups throughout my visit, and to my conversations with the Filipino waiter at my hotel in Washington and the Filipina airline employee who assisted us at the Dulles Airport, it was clear that the Philippine diaspora is the foundation upon which were built over the years, the deep friendship and vital partnership between the Philippines and the United States, and their peoples,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said in a statement shortly before departing the United States over the weekend.
The Secretary expressed the hope that members of the Filipino diaspora would view themselves as active partners for change in the Philippines, and in their communities here in the United States.
“Whether in big things or small things, it is our hope that you will always strive to make your own contributions to the change that we are all moving towards, as a people. Give back to our people, to your communities here and at home, the knowledge, the expertise, the experiences, the learning, the wisdom, that you have gained, from over the years since when you left,” Secretary Cayetano told audiences of his Filipino community events in the US, extolling the Filipino values of bayanihan and pakikipagkapwa-tao.
He also highlighted the importance of sharing the Philippine narrative with the American people, from the shared sacrifices of our soldiers in war-time; and our peoples’ shared commitment to democracy and human development in peace. He recalled that in one roundtable discussion, a law professor remarked that many Americans may think they know the Philippines and Filipinos, when actually they don’t.
“In sharing our story with Americans, we will be able to affirm how our separate histories have been woven by the threads of our common experiences, our shared values, and our mutual commitment to development. And may we strive to ensure an enduring friendship between our two peoples,” Secretary Cayetano also said.
The Secretary likewise reminded the Filipino-American community that a very important aspect of the Philippine story is our culture. He urged them to always treasure our culture, which is constant and a defining element of the national identity.
“Culture transcends technology, time, distance, and place. Our culture and traditions go with Filipino families wherever they go. The Filipino diaspora and families overseas bring our time-honored traditions all around the world. Into households in Hong Kong, the churches of old Europe, tiny communities in Africa, and wherever else we find ourselves,” the Secretary said, emphasizing the importance of people-to-people ties and urging Filipino Americans to be ambassadors of Philippine culture.
During his visit to the United States, Secretary Cayetano met with Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the first Filipino-American to hold the senior position in the US Government; held Town Hall Meetings in Washington DC and New York; interacted with various groups of Filipinos in the United States, as well as individuals; and had discussions on Philippine issues with Americans.
He then joined Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and other economic managers last week for the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. DFA/MCAG
Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano (left) meets with US Solicitor General Noel Francisco (right), the first Filipino-American to hold the senior position in the US Government.