UNITED States (US) Vice President Kamala Harris will launch new initiatives during her three-day visit in the Philippines, the US Embassy in Manila said.

Harris arrived in the Philippines on Sunday evening, November 20, 2022.

The US Embassy in Manila said her travel to the Philippines reaffirmed the bilateral alliance between the two countries.

It said it also spurred cooperation on a range of issues, such as advancing clean energy, addressing the climate crisis, promoting inclusive growth and innovation, increasing access to quality education and health resources, combating trafficking in persons, facing common security challenges, supporting freedom of the seas, and deepening people-to-people ties.

Harris said the US and Philippines will initiate negotiations on a civil nuclear cooperation agreement to support expanded cooperation on zero-emission energy and nonproliferation priorities.

She said the agreement will provide the legal basis for the US to export nuclear equipment and material to the Philippines.

“United States is committed to working with the Philippines to increase energy security and deploying advanced nuclear reactor technology as quickly as safety and security conditions permit to meet the Philippines’ dire baseload power needs,” said Harris.

“Such a deployment would support both energy security and climate goals, as well support workers and businesses in both countries,” she added.

There will also be a dialogue between the US Department of Energy and Department of State, and Philippine Department of Energy for the establishment of an Energy Policy Dialogue.

The policy will serve as a high-level platform for the two nations to develop new forms of energy cooperation, including short and long-term energy planning, offshore wind development, and grid stability and power transmission.

The US Embassy said the US will also support the development of nickel and cobalt processing facilities in the country, which may result in the advancement of sustainable development of critical minerals essential to the technologies for the clean energy transition.

There will also be a partnership between the US and a Philippine energy company for the development of a geothermal project in Mindanao for the expansion of access to clean energy, reduce emissions, diversify the Philippines’ energy mix, and bring down energy costs for consumers.

Harris said they will open a United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) office in US Embassy Manila to help US companies and financiers invest in the Philippine market, supporting the energy and infrastructure needs of the Philippines and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

“This office will ensure that USTDA’s current pipeline of bankable projects reach financial close and that new project opportunities are identified in partnership with the Asian Development Bank, US development finance institutions, private banks, and other country partners in the region,” she said.

“Partnering more strategically with regional financiers will ensure high quality infrastructure projects are financed and implemented using US technology and expertise, creating mutual benefit among the Philippines, the United States, and the broader Indo-Pacific Region,” she added.

Harris will also launch the Indo-Pacific Smart and Secure Ports Development Project that will help build partner capacity to identify and mitigate cybersecurity risks in critical seaport infrastructure and promote the use of trusted vendors for the installation and maintenance of digital and automated port infrastructure.

She will also discuss the 2014 Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) and the UN Joint Programme for Human Rights (UNJP).

Harris said the US has allocated over $82 million toward Edca implementation at all five existing locations.

“This investment, and forthcoming additional allotment, will complete 21 projects, enabling the United States and the Philippines to build lasting security infrastructure to promote long-term modernization, build a credible mutual defense posture, maintain humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities, and enhance the strength of the alliance,” she said.

She said the US Department of Agriculture will also have a dialogue with Philippine counterparts on the issues of food security, agricultural innovation and sustainability.

There will also be a partnership between the US and a telecommunication operator in the country for the deployment of 5G technologies in the Philippines amid the administration’s efforts for digitalization.

This program aims to provide faster and more reliable digital services and increased broadband internet access for Filipinos countrywide.

Harris is expected to meet President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio on November 21.

On Tuesday, November 22, Harris will be visiting Palawan, one of the closest provinces to the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). (SunStar Philippines)