Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) issued the following statement ahead of the Philippines’ May 9 elections:

“On Monday, millions of Filipinos will participate in their nation’s national and local elections.  Important progress has been made in recent years under President Aquino, and I urge the new government to build on the Philippines’ democratic gains that are a point of pride for Filipinos everywhere.  At the same time, I encourage the continued implementation of governance and economic reforms, including improvements to property rights – the importance of which I witnessed firsthand on the ground in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.  I also look forward to improving security cooperation between the U.S. and the Philippines following the recent agreement announced by Secretary of Defense Carter.

“The people of the Philippines are longtime friends and partners of the United States, and I hope the alliance between our two countries will continue to grow.  That is what I have been working toward.  Together, we can work to promote economic development, fight Islamist radicalism, and bring stability to the South China Sea.”

NOTE: Chairman Royce hosted a congressional field hearing in Southern California last year focused on land grabbing and property rights in Southeast Asia.