U.S. helps Philippines with food safety, 5G tech; Harris launches initiative

The U.S. embassy said on Monday that U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris launched the initiative to help the Philippines with food security and the realization of a digital economy.

food security and sustainable agriculture

According to the US embassy, ​​the USDA will establish a food security dialogue with its Filipino counterparts, with the participation of USAID and the US State Department.

“This dialogue,” the embassy said, will see the two countries “work together to create resilient food systems and discuss best practices in agricultural innovation and sustainable development.”

In addition, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will issue a US$20 million loan to support the expansion of Agri Exim Global Philippines, Inc., a local processor of organic coconut into derivative products, to expand its facilities.

“[The initiative aims] Expanding its processing facilities in the Philippines, helping thousands of local farmers obtain organic certification and connecting with global supply chains and customers,” the embassy said.

digital economy

The U.S. also intends to work with Philippine telecom operator Now Telecom to deploy 5G technology in the Philippines, the U.S. embassy said.

It added that the partnership will provide “faster, more reliable digital services and increased broadband Internet access” to Filipinos across the country.

Meanwhile, USAID will partner with the country’s SpaceX Starlink to support the launch of the first low-Earth orbit satellite broadband service in Southeast Asia.

The embassy said the satellite broadband service will provide reliable and affordable internet access to marginalized populations across the Philippines, improving their access to education, professional training and opportunities.

Additionally, USAID will launch a new five-year program called the Strengthening the Private Enterprise Digital Economy (SPEED) Awards.

SPEED seeks to expand the participation of Filipino SMEs in the country’s emerging e-commerce ecosystem.

The Philippine E-Commerce Alliance will also be launched as part of the SPEED launch, signaling an industry-wide commitment to accelerate the rise of the Philippines’ digital economy.

“The plan will promote the use of digital technologies to accelerate competitiveness, drive innovation, increase employment opportunities and expand market reach for businesses,” the embassy said.

Additionally, USAID plans to support the new Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Consortium.

“Leveraging $5.3 million in private sector contributions from seven Philippine companies, this public-private partnership will work with government, industry and academia to build a highly skilled and adaptable workforce to meet high-tech manufacturing industry’s changing needs,” the embassy said.

With regard to women entrepreneurs, the embassy said DFC will provide $15.5 million in loan guarantees through a framework agreement with Citibank to support the ASA Philippines Foundation, an organization that helps women entrepreneurs access funds and contribute to economic growth in the Philippines. Contributing microfinance institutions.

Harris arrived in Manila on Sunday night after attending the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, where he plans to meet with President Ferdinand “Bonbon” Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte on Monday.

She will also travel to Palawan, one of the country’s closest regions to the West Philippine Sea.

“The United States and the Philippines enjoy an alliance and partnership based on deep historical, economic, and cultural ties and our shared democratic values. The United States and the Philippines stand together as friends, partners, and allies. The United States’ commitment to defending the Philippines is and always will be Unwavering, we are committed to strengthening our economic and investment relationships,” the US embassy said.

Harris’ visit to the Philippines “reaffirms the bilateral alliance and will foster cooperation on a range of issues, including: advancing clean energy, addressing the climate crisis, promoting inclusive growth and innovation, increasing access to quality education and health resources, combating Trafficking in people, facing shared security challenges, supporting freedom of the seas and deepening connections between people,” it added. —Mel Matthew Doctor/KG, GMA General News

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