IF there is one thing that United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim envisions for the new year, that would be taking the relationship between Manila and Washington to a “whole new level.”
To mark Kim’s first year serving in the Philippines, the U.S. embassy released on Friday, January 5, a three-minute video where the envoy participated in a quick series of light questions about his stay in the country and what his plans are.
“I’m very excited, we’re going to take the U.S.-Philippines relationship to a whole new level,” Kim said when asked about what he envisions for the new year.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Kim arrived in the country in December 2016 to replace Philip Goldberg as the new U.S. ambassador to the Philippines.
In the video, Kim described his one-year stay in the Philippines as “wonderful.” Adding that traveling around the country has been among his favorite experience so far, Kim said revealed that he had never been to Palawan and wanted to see the place for himself.
The U.S. envoy also answered light questions about his favorite Filipino food, desserts, and even local sports team: crispy tilapia, buko pandan, and basketball teams Ateneo and La Salle.
As to what would be his advice to his 20-year-old self, Kim said cited: “Be true to yourself, be willing to try different things and of course work hard.”
In a separate television interview on Tuesday, January 9, Kim said that for the year 2017, the U.S.-PH alliance mainly focused on the Marawi City crisis. In May last year, Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute terrorists occupied the city, sparking an armed conflict that lasted for five months.
“As you know, I passed my first year mark just recently… and in terms of what we’ve focused on, I think obviously the Marawi situation was of great importance to the alliance. And I think we’ve played a very important role in supporting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” he told GMA News’ News To Go.
Kim also announced that the U.S. government has allocated an additional $6 million on top of the $20 million earlier pledged for the rehabilitation efforts in war-torn Marawi City.
“I am happy to announce today that we are allocating $6 million to help the most vulnerable population in Marawi. We’re talking about young children [and the] elderly,” the envoy said.
“We’re coming up with some programs that are really focused on their needs, such as vocational training, and other educational-related programs,” he added. (Dana Sioson/AJPress)