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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Dec 14, 2022

Kamala Harris

Last November, onboard the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ship Teresa Magbanua, United States Vice President Kamala Harris reaffirmed America’s support for the Philippines in many areas of development through strengthened bilateral cooperation.

On that ship in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, I had the opportunity to see up close the highest-ranking female official in the history of the United States. While she was highlighting how the US is proud of our two nations’ longstanding ties, I could not help but admire this lady who broke the glass ceiling.

Prior to being the first female vice president of the US, she was a District Attorney of San Francisco, Attorney General of California, and a United States Senator. She is known for being a fearless advocate and champion for women and girls. She uses her global leadership to empower and inspire women and girls across the world.

During her visit to the Philippines, she also met with Filipino women leaders, youth, and civil society organizations. She underscored the importance of fighting for what we believe in, of knowing our purpose, and of knowing that we can make a difference in other people’s lives and in our society.

One of the things she emphasized was the importance of uplifting the economic status of women. She shared that, over the years when she was a prosecutor specializing in crimes of violence against women and children, she realized that women will endure abuse if that equates to being able to ensure food and shelter for her children.

She noted the correlation between gender violence and the economic status of women, stressing that, when a woman has an opportunity to achieve economic wellbeing, she is less likely to remain in an environment that causes her harm.

“Lift up the economic status of women, and all of society benefits,” Vice President Harris said, adding that women should be given equal access to capital, financial literacy, and other opportunities that will improve her economic wellbeing.

PH-US enduring ties

US Vice President Harris’ visit to the Philippines reaffirms the strong and enduring relationship between the Philippines and the United States.

In Palawan, she visited local coastal communities and learned of the work that they do to adapt to the changing climate and in sustainably managing natural resources. Here, she emphasized the importance of the two nations’ partnership in creating economic opportunities, protecting coastal ecosystems, and maintaining peace and stability.

In her courtesy call on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., she discussed with him a number of global issues and highlighted mutual concerns on the climate crisis, and how investments in renewable energy and clean power can strengthen economic prosperity through the creation of jobs and industries. She underscored the United States’ commitment to work closely with the Philippines to strengthen economic partnership.

She also met with Vice President Sara Duterte to discuss education policy and the United States’ support for ensuring all children in the Philippines have access to quality education. The two lady vice presidents also discussed efforts to advance skills training and internet connectivity.

While her visit to the Philippines was aimed at reaffirming the partnership between our nations, Vice President Harris left another important message—the affirmation that, like her, women and girls can lead and succeed; that in our own way, we can make a difference in the lives of others and our community.

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