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Speaker, U.S. Rep. Bera embrace ‘balut diplomacy’

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Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez on Wednesday afternoon (United States time) paid a courtesy call to United States Rep. Ami Bera of California’s 6th District at his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., where the American legislator offered beer and a meal of “balut” to the surprise of the Filipino delegation.

Balut, boiled duck egg with a developing embryo, is a popular street food in the Philippines.

Bera’s offer of beer and balut served as a symbolic display of camaraderie and cooperation between the U.S. and the Philippines.

Aside from the Speaker, the Philippine delegation included Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr., Deputy Speaker David “Jay-jay” Suarez, Majority Leader Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe, Agusan del Norte Rep. Jose “Joboy” Aquino II, House Secretary General Reginald “Reggie” Velasco, Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, Ambassador to Japan Mylene Garcia-Albano, and House Deputy Secretary Generals Jennifer “Jef” Baquiran, David Robert Amorin, and Sofonias “Ponyong” Gabonada Jr., and other House officials and Philippine embassy officers.

The meeting was marked by discussions on crucial regional matters and the strengthening of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Against the backdrop of geopolitical tensions, both Romualdez and Bera emphasized the importance of fostering stability, peace, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bera underscored the significance of the current geopolitical landscape, emphasizing the necessity of cooperation while respecting each other’s sovereignty.

“It’s an important time in the region. None of us wants conflicts. We seek cooperation but we should respect each other’s sovereignty. We stand close to each other,” Bera said.

In response, Speaker Romualdez expressed gratitude for the unwavering support of Bera and his district, reaffirming the enduring friendship between the Philippines and the U.S.

“Our gratitude and appreciation for your support, especially from your district as your home. We will not take that for granted. You are a true friend to the Philippines,” Romualdez said.

The Speaker also highlighted the historic trilateral partnership between the United States, Japan, and the Philippines.

“Who could have imagined that history would once again be made—the trilateral meeting of the U.S., Japan, and the Philippines? These are times that unite us, as we look towards the future,” Romualdez said.

Discussions also revolved around enhancing defense capabilities, promoting economic opportunities, and strengthening trade relations between the two nations.

Both leaders emphasized the importance of initiatives such as the reauthorization of the Generalized System of Preferences, investments in green economies, and partnerships in global infrastructure projects.

However, amidst the serious talks, the concept of “balut diplomacy” emerged as a lighthearted yet meaningful gesture of cultural exchange.

Bera, who prepared the traditional Filipino delicacy, suggested drafting a memorandum of understanding to be sent to the respective embassies, referring to it playfully as “balut diplomacy.”

“We do joint partnerships, English language. Let’s draft and forward it to the Embassy. Call it balut diplomacy,” he said.*


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May 2024

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