A SPECIAL convoy of black SUVs arrived in Angeles City hall last week. One of the escorts opened the passenger door of one of the vehicles, and getting off was United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim. He was here to pay a courtesy visit after he met with DOTr Secretary Art Tugade and the American Chamber of Commerce in Clark. As he was going in the city hall, he was welcomed by the city’s tourism officer John Montances and then offered flowers by Melan Lusung. He buttoned his suit while going up the stairs ready to meet EdPam for the first time.
At the mayor’s office, he was warmly welcomed by LCP President Ed Pamintuan who also happens to be the chairman of the Regional Development Council of Central Luzon. Standing tall at around 5-foot-10, and his mane covered with shades of grey, Ambassador Kim looked neat and dapper; it’s no wonder why the 68th US Secretary of State John Kerry called Ambassador Kim as the “George Clooney of the Foreign Service.”
The affable and smooth emissary of Korean descent was born in Seoul but grew up in Los Angeles where he attended middle school and high school. But like many Filipinos, he’s fond of watching basketball games. He also enjoyed watching the rivalry between Ateneo and La Salle.
Sung Kim and EdPam have discussed various topics during the ambassador’s first visit to this highly urbanized city. The US envoy shared his personal experience with President Rodrigo Duterte. He described him as a man with pleasant personality. Kim also mentioned that he’s been hearing good things about the Angeles City mayor and of Pamintuan being the president of the 145-strong city mayors, and that he was impressed by the city administrator’s (NoyPam) PowerPoint presentation of what the Pamintuan administration has built and delivered to this city from 2010 to present.
The diplomat is also receptive to the president and LCP’s appeal for the return of the Balangiga bells of Eastern Samar.
After his brief visit in Angeles City, Kim tweeted on his official Twitter account a photo of him with Mayor EdPam that says: “Enjoyed meeting Mayor Pamintuan on my 1st trip to Angeles City. U.S. shares unique history with the city – glad to see its economic success.”
This is not the first time a US envoy visited Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan. In 2014, then US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg and Mayor EdPam met at Bale Dutung for lunch prepared by Chef Gordon Grant, Mrs. Herminia Pamintuan, and Chef Claude Tayag.