US envoy promotes press freedom
A U.S. envoy traveled to Tawi-Tawi to promote shared U.S.-Philippine values such as freedom of the press and to strengthen already strong collaboration with local partners for inclusive peace in the region.
U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Acting Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava highlighted the important role of the media in democratic societies to the audience of more than 100 students and faculty in her keynote address.
“It is important for our democracies and our future that we find ways to make media freedom a reality. We must protect these freedoms at digital borders and in traditional media,” Variava said.
Variava was a guest at Mindanao State University-Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography (MSU-TCTO) on the university’s World Press Freedom Day on May 19.
During her trip to Tawi-Tawi, Variava also spoke with local government officials and met with Armed Forces of the Philippines Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi Commander, Brig. General Romeo Racadio, and visited the American Corner at MSU-TCTO.
The U.S. Embassy said Variava’s discussion with Racadio, alongside members of the U.S. Special Operations Task Force 511.2, focused on working together to strengthen the maritime security posture and address challenges. security in the South China Sea and the Sulu Archipelago.
Task Force 511.2 partners with Western Mindanao Command and has teams directly integrated with Philippine forces throughout the region.
The U.S. Embassy said the American Corner Tawi-Tawi, supported by the U.S. government, has been a library and community resource space for the MSU-TCTO community since 2003.
The Embassy said the American Corner is located on two floors of the MSU Library. It offers books and reference materials on American history, culture, and institutions, as well as information on studying in the United States.
It also features a mural that is part of the Embassy’s Friends-Partners-Allies Mural Project, incorporating common Filipino-American values and traditional elements of Tawi-Tawi culture, the embassy added.