By Kris Crismundo

SECOND VISIT. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in an event at the Ayala Triangle Garden in Makati City during his first visit to the Philippines on Aug. 6, 2022. The White House official will visit the country again in the coming weeks, according to US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – A White House official said here Tuesday United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken will set foot again in the Philippines in the coming weeks.

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a meeting with Filipino and American businesses in Makati City, the visit of US officials here sends the message that the Philippines is an important partner for the US.

“(T)he message is–the United States [is] committed to the Philippines, (that it) is going to continue to show up in the Philippines. And I think Secretary Blinken will be here in a week or so,” Raimondo said.

The upcoming trip of Blinken in Manila will be his second official visit since August 2022.

On the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco, California in November 2023, Blinken also met with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. when the Philippines and the US sealed the 123 Agreement, or the civil nuclear cooperation deal.

Raimondo highlighted the special relation of the US with the Philippines in the region, having 72 years of bilateral relations, which she described as “iron clad.”

White House officials that have visited Manila since the current administration include US Vice President Kamala Harris, Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Raimondo, and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai. (PNA)