MANILA, U.S. Embassy in the Philippines -- On October 28, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson visited Zamboanga City to address local university students and meet with key leaders to reaffirm the longstanding friendship between Americans and Filipinos.
At Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), Ambassador Carlson engaged with 200 students as part of WMSU’s pilot “Friends, Partners, Allies Speaker Series.” She told the students that the foundation of the bilateral relationship with the Philippines is the “friendship that is based upon our deep and vibrant people-to-people ties.”
“I thank the people of Zamboanga City for their hospitality. Our strong friendship makes my first visit here particularly special,” said Ambassador Carlson. “Our friendship energizes our work on a number of issues, such as health. I know that we will continue to work together to build a healthy future.”
In her courtesy call with Zamboanga Mayor John Dalipe, Ambassador Carlson discussed current challenges from infrastructure to health. They also discussed the important role of youth in the region and programs that the Embassy supports to help Filipino youth take on leadership roles locally, regionally, and globally. Embassy-supported youth programs include the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), Philippine Youth Leadership Program (PYLP), and the Kennedy-Lugar YES Program.
Together with leaders of the U.S. Special Operations Task Force 511.2, Ambassador Carlson also met with Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) Acting Commander Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas. The Ambassador commended the professionalism of the security forces based in Zamboanga City and thanked Brig. Gen. Rojas for Westmincom’s continuing partnership, acknowledging that their “dedication to the relationship has been pivotal in preserving security and safety in Mindanao.”