MANILA (UPDATED) - The United States wants to share maritime information with its allies, including the Philippines, to help resolve conflicts.
Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma, in an email to media, revealed this was one of the points discussed during the bilateral meeting of President Aquino and US President Barack Obama.
"The US wants to promote enhanced maritime information sharing with its allies namely Philippines, Japan, and Australia as this would be helpful in managing maritime conflicts and disputes," he said.
Coloma said President Obama also pledged to assist the Philippines in the establishment of a National Coast Watch Center (NCWC).
The NCWC is an inter-agency mechanism aimed at enhancing maritime border security and enhancing governance in the country’s maritime domains pursuant to Executive Order No. 57 issued in September 2011.
Obama had repeatedly stressed the need for peaceful resolution to maritime conflicts even as he steered clear of China, which is in maritime disputes with US treaty allies the Philippines and Japan.
"We believe that international law must be upheld, that freedom of navigation must be preserved, and commerce must not be impeded. We believe that disputes must be resolved peacefully and not by intimidation and force. That's what our nations stand for," Obama said during his visit.
China, for its part, had urged the US to help ensure mutual trust among countries in the Asia Pacific region.
Aside from security matters, Coloma revealed the following other talking points from the bilateral meeting:
Obama announced that US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will head a US business delegation to the Philippines in June to promote expanded trade and investment between the two countries.
Aquino signified the Philippines interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade alliance between the US and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Obama said the US is prepared to extend technical assistance to the Philippines as it prepares for possible membership
in the TPP.
According to the DTI, joining the TPP would improve the Philippines’ competitive position to become a regional hub for growth, investment and exports to the US and key Asian markets.
Obama also commended the Philippines’ effective implementation of the Millennium Challenge programs, including the construction of circumferential road in Samar island and poverty reduction programs.
Aquino also thanked Obama for the Federal Aviation Authority's (FAA) decision to upgrade the Philippines’ safety status to Category 1.
Obama lauded the Philippines’ significant progress in the areas of intellectual property rights and labor rights.
Aquino thanked Obama in removing the Philippines from the special 301 watch list, a list of the United States Trade Representative comprised of countries with "serious intellectual property rights deficiencies.”
Obama praised the country for its good governance programs.
Aquino said the Philippines can play a leading role in promoting the significant strides it has made in improving transparency and in being one of the prime movers of Open Government Partnership with the US.