22 Years and a Typhoon Later, The Philippines is Back

February 14, 2014 By Julia Marvin

The Olympics builds a better world through friendship, solidarity, and fair play. Every participant of the games embodies this spirit, but it shines especially bright in the Philippines with 17-year old Michael Christian Martinez’s unstoppable drive to compete in figure skating this year, breaking the country’s 22-year long absence from the Winter Olympics.

Martinez represents a nation devastated last November by a typhoon that was named one of the most powerful storms ever recorded. But thanks to U.S. development assistance, the Philippines is on the rebound.

Michael Christian Martinez

Since 1946, the United States has partnered with the Philippines, improving livelihoods and lending a hand during a historic time of need. The Philippines, in turn, has been an important partner in trade. The Philippines is our 36th largest trading partner, with the two-way trade of goods and services totaling to $22 billion in 2012. Exports to the nation alone amounted to $8.1 billion.

The Philippines helps the U.S. through trade, and so when the nation needed help after Typhoon Haiyan, we stepped in. The U.S. led humanitarian relief efforts was one of the most successful USAID-military collaboration efforts to date and provided over 3 million people food and 150,000 people water and continues rebuilding efforts through Plan International today. The ability of the Philippines government to respond to the disaster is the result in part of U.S. foreign assistance programs such as the Partnership for Growth, a collaboration between the MCC compact, USAID mission, OPIC, and USTDA.

Extending a helping hand in a time of need not only saves lives, but it ensures that our trading partnerships remain strong. As evident by our relationship with the Philippines, supporting other nations through our international affairs budget is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do.