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MANILA, Philippines - California Rep. Ed Royce has asked Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario to look into problems that many Filipino-Americans reportedly encounter when investing on or keeping their real estate properties in the Philippines, according to the US-based “Asian Journal” community newspaper.
The newspaper said Royce met with Del Rosario, who is in Washington with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin for the 2+2 meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
The 2+2 meeting is a forum for discussion of US-Philippine bilateral strategic alliance, said del Rosario in a pre-departure press briefing in Manila. The Scarborough Shoal issue will be in the agenda.
The Foreign Secretary also said that he was pursuing discussions of the SAVE Our Industries bill pending in the US Congress. If enacted, it will help save jobs in the US textile and Philippine apparel industries.
”Apparel shipments are down because orders are being shifted to China and Vietnam. I would rather see our orders being placed in a democratic country, which is one of our close allies,” Royce said. “Trade bills are challenging to pass in Congress but we’re working hard and trying to show the economic and diplomatic benefits of the SAVE Act.”
Royce is a co-sponsor of the bill and a member of the Phl-US Congressional Friendship Caucus in Washington DC.
According to the Asian Journal, Royce presented del Rosario a letter detailing a Filipino-American’s ordeal of having his land sold in an auction made by the government. There are more such cases, he said.
“In this particular case, one of my constituents, a Filipino-American has owned a piece of land that has been passed down for generations in his family, only to see it placed in a no-bid government auction,” Royce said.
“When he tried to get it back, the developer hired thugs to deny him access. I’ve asked the Foreign Secretary to forward my concern to the government and look into this matter,” he added.
“The rule of law needs to be strengthened because it will help the Philippine economy. We’ve heard from so many different families and Filipino-American investors, who want to be engaged more in the Philippines. [But] there needs to be firm rules of the road.
”It has to be understood that contracts should be important. It’s also important to eliminate corruption in the country. This will help bring more investments to the Philippines and create jobs and help everyone, and that is the ultimate goal.”