by Cynthia de Casto/AJPress
WASHINGTON DC – The White House meeting between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and US President George W. Bush lasted for about an hour Tuesday morning.
The two presidents covered several important issues during their talk. One of the pressing issues discussed was the passage of the Filipino veterans equity bill.
“I made a strong case for why the Filipino veterans of World War II deserve equity and I’ve asked for the understanding and support of the leaders of America,” Arroyo said after the meeting. “This is consistent with one major aim of this trip–to help fight for passage of the Filipino veterans equity bill that’s part of a larger bill pending in Congress,” she added.
Another important matter taken up by the two leaders was the fight against terrorism. President Bush praised the Philippine government’s “carrot and stick” approach in dealing with extremist groups. “I congratulated the President (Arroyo) on her strong stance on counterterrorism, more than a strong stance, effective stance on counterterrorism as well as letting out a vision for peace,” Bush said.
Bush also expressed “deep condolences” to the families of those who died in Typhoon Frank. He said the US government was ready to help the Philippines deal with the aftermath of the disaster. He likewise offered to give food aid amid the rising cost of rice in the Philippines.
“We want to help our friends in time of need, and we are happy to do it” Bush told Arroyo.
GMA was accompanied to the White House by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, House Deputy Speaker Raul del Mar and Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr., consul general in San Francisco.