US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg in Manila soon
The United States government has accelerated the deployment of its new ambassador to Manila to deal with the challenges of emergency assistance to the disaster-stricken country.
Ambassador Philip Goldberg is scheduled to depart for his new assignment on the 25th of this month and, according to Secretary of State John Kerry, the former US Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research “can’t get there soon enough in order to help make a difference” amid the suffering caused by typhoon Yolanda.
“We want to have our ambassador on the ground in the Philippines,” Secretary Kerry said during the the swearing-in ceremony of Goldberg held Thursday morning (Thursday night Manila time) at the Benjamin Franklin Room of the State Department in Washington DC, apparently the earliest Treaty Room swearing-in in the history of the State Department.
The US Senate voted to confirm Goldberg, a veteran career diplomat, last November 14.
But the scheduling of his swearing in was so hasty that there were family members of Goldberg’s from Boston, Nashville, and New York, who were not able to attend the ceremony.
In his remarks after taking his oath and signing his appointment papers, he admitted that he is heading to Manila with “mixed emotions.”
“I’m excited and honored to be going to the Philippines, a country with which we share so much history,” said Goldberg. “At the same time, it’s hard to think of the suffering of so many people in the Philippines in recent weeks and all they’ve endured without a touch of sadness and without being moved.”
But if there’s one thing he learned from Filipinos he made friends with all around the world, it is that “they’re warm…tough and resilient.”
“There should be no doubt that they will bounce back,” the former US ambassador in Bolivia said.
Goldberg said he looks forward to helping the two countries do more in terms of humanitarian relief preparedness, and also leading the US Embassy in Manila which, he said, has carried out “smooth work” with the Philippine government.
He said if there is one thing the relief effort has underlined it is the importance of coordination between the US and Philippine governments and military.
“The coordination has been outstanding and has saved lives,” said Goldberg, a native of Boston, Massachusetts and a graduate of The Rivers School and Boston University.
Echoing the declaration of Secretary Kerry that the relationship of the US with the Philippines is “broad-based and deep,” the new ambassador to Manila said he is confident that they will be able to do more in many other areas.