Sen. Loren Legarda, together with Philippine ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez (left) and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (right), after their meeting at Capitol Hill on April 18, 2018.  (Philippine Embassy photo)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Loren Legarda and U.S. Republican Sen. Cory Gardner held a wide-ranging conversation on the Philippines-U.S. relationship when they met at Capitol Hill on April 18, 2018.

Legarda, chair of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Philippine Senate, and Gardner, who heads the Subcommittee on East Asia, The Pacific, and International Cyber-Security Policy in the U.S. Senate, exchanged views on the international situation in the Korean Peninsula and South China Sea.

The two senators also discussed bilateral cooperation in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi City, particularly in building and investing in the city’s renewable energy infrastructure.

The U.S.’ National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is located in Golden, Colorado, the home state of Gardner.

The NREL is the only federal laboratory dedicated to the research, develop, commercialization and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

Under USAID’s EC-LEDS (Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies) program, NREL provides technical support to the Philippine Government to advance a variety of clean energy and low emission development initiatives.

Both sides expressed willingness to explore the possibility of extending this cooperation to Marawi City.

Legarda and Gardner recalled the positive bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and President Donald Trump last November, as well as the productive visit to the Philippines by a Congressional delegation led by Gardner in May 2017.

“Sen. Gardner and I share a fundamental belief in the importance of the Philippines-U.S. alliance not only in ensuring mutual prosperity and progress but also in preserving a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific region. I appreciate the senator’s openness to bringing our bilateral cooperation to new areas, such as clean energy,” Legarda stated after the meeting.

Philippine ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, Commissioner Rachel Anne Herrera of the Climate Change Commission, and officials from the Philippine Embassy and the senator’s office joined Legarda in the meeting.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations, Finance and Climate Change, is the Alternate Head of the Philippine Delegation to the 2018 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C., USA.

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