US Philippines Society

  Raising the Philippines' profile in the US

A century ago, the Philippine Autonomy Act, commonly referred to as the "Jones Law" was enacted by the 64th United States Congress on August 29, 1916, an official declaration of the US government "to withdraw their sovereignty over the Philippine Islands and to recognize their independence as soon as a stable government can be established." It provided the framework for the granting of Philippine independence in 1946, becoming Asia's oldest democracy. 

The first Filipino immigrants arrived as students in 1899, followed by others who saw America as a land of opportunity. Today, the Filipino diaspora in the United States is comprised of approximately 3.7 million individuals who were born in the Philippines or reported Filipino ancestry (U.S. Census Bureau). Overall,  personal remittances by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to the Philippines  will reach US$13.19 billion (BSP estimates) supporting the consumption-driven economy.

American firms have been operating in the Philippines for over a century.  US-Philippines bilateral trade has grown to nearly US$18.1 billion in 2015, employing thousands of Filipinos and Americans.  Among the top ten companies that Filipinos want to work for are American subsidiaries, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and Google, based on a July 2016 survey by, an online employment marketplace. 

US-Philippines relationship has endured many major "bumps in the road." Secretary John Kerry stated on 27 July, 2016 during his visit to the Philippines that "United States has been in a committed relationship with respect to the security of the Philippines and the region, and we still remember with pride the mutual sacrifices and contributions that were fought for - freedom for your country - and we continue to want to work with you to uphold the longest-standing single mutual defense treaty ally of the United States in Asia."
On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a unanimous Award in the arbitration instituted by the Republic of the Philippines against the People's Republic of China.  The ruling was in favor of the Philippines in the dispute over the South China Sea.

In a press statement, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson of the Bureau of Public Affairs John Kirby called the decision in the Philippines-China Arbitration "an important contribution to the shared goal of a peaceful resolution to disputes in the South China Sea."  Mr. Kirby restated the United States' strong support of the rule of law and of "efforts to resolve territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea peacefully, including through arbitration."

On 16 September, Society Directors hosted a luncheon in honor of Foreign Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay, Jr. on his first official visit to Washington DC. Secretary Yasay was former Chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission. 

The  Secretary was in Washington DC for talks with US government officials, an international oceans conference, and meetings with the Filipino American community. He conveyed his gratitude for US support in the South China Sea Arbitration. In describing the Duterte administration's foreign policy direction, the Secretary cited the 1987 Philippine Constitution requiring the Philippines to "pursue an independent foreign policy." 

USPH Society Directors SFA Yasay Sept 2016
US-Philippines Society Co-chair Amb. John D. Negroponte welcomes Foreign Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay, Jr. In the photo, L-R, are: US Deputy Assistant Secretary W. Patrick Murphy, ASec Maria Andrelita Austria, US-PH Society President Amb. John F. Maisto, Amb John D. Negroponte, Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Amb. Frank Wisner, Amb. Thomas Hubbard, Amb. Jose Antonio.
On September 13, 2016, Philippine Embassy in DC's Charge d'Affaires Patrick Chuasoto provided a comprehensive mid-year review of the Philippine economy at a briefing held at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. The briefing highlighted continuity of sound macroeconomic fundamentals, President Duterte's 10 point socioeconomic policy agenda and growth prospects in priority sectors, including infrastructure, IT-business process management particularly in the healthcare subsector, agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. The country's GDP growth rate of 7 percent year-on-year in the second quarter beat earlier forecasts of 6.6 percent.

The Mid-Year Briefing was co-sponsored by the US-Philippines Society, the Philippine Embassy, Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business Net Impact Club and Emerging Market Club.  Read more

MidYear Briefing
Charge d'Affaires Patrick Chuasoto points to economic potential in innovative technology-enabled entrepreneurship
Electronics Industry
A Thriving Philippine Semi-conductor & Electronics Industry

Finance Secretary Dominguez
Finance Secretary C. Dominguez
NEDA Director Pernia
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary E. Pernia
Budget Secretary Diokno
Budget Secretary B. Diokno
BSP Governor Tetangco, Jr.
Bangko Sentral Governor A. Tetangco, Jr.

On 30 August, in collaboration with the Philippine Embassy, the US-Philippines Society replicated a special dinner a hundred years ago that celebrated the passage of the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916 or commonly known as the "Jones Law" named after Congressman William A. Jones, author of the bill. Congressman Jones believed in the right of people to self-govern at a time when other countries clung to their empires. "Modern day institutions and processes observed in the Philippines remain faithful to the enduring tenets and principles of Jones Law." Read more.

Aug 1916 Dinner
The Farewell Banquet at the New Willard Hotel, Washington DC on August 29, 1916.  


On 24 September, the Richmond County Museum, Virginia, celebrated the centennial of the Jones Act with a Historic House Party held in the William A. Jones House in Warsaw, Virginia.  "As we reflect on why we are gathered here 100 years later, we celebrate how the separate histories of our two great nations have been woven by the threads of our common experience in war and in peace, and our dedication to freedom and democracy," remarked Minister JV Chan-Gonzaga, representing the Philippine Embassy.

Historic House Party
A showcase of music and folkdance from various regions in the Philippines performed by Sayaw! Diversity Group and Richmond Pilipino Youth Dancers. In the background, the William A. Jones Historic House, Warsaw, Virginia. 
First Lady Amelita Ramos
Philippine Handwoven Table Linen, Gift from First Lady Amelita A. Ramos to the Jones Family.


Nestled between neoclassical heritage buildings that now house the National Gallery of Art and the National Museum of Anthropology, the old Department of Tourism (originally the Department of Agriculture) undergoes a transformation into the nation's first museum devoted to fauna and flora. On 15 July 2016, Dominic Galicia, the principal architect, shared the design concept and project development with a group of US architects, artists, and Society members. Central to the design is a bright and airy public courtyard with a glass dome, connected by a spiral steel structure in a form of a double helix "Tree of Life." The design process honored the historic edifice's tall ceilings, generous windows, and other original architectural elements adapted to its new life.  The presentation on the Renovation of the National Museum of Natural History, Rizal Park, Manila was co-sponsored by US-Philippines Society at the initiative of Director Ramon del Rosario,  and the Philippine Embassy. 

Natural History, Galicia Architects
The Transformation of the National Museum of Natural History, 
Rizal Park, Manila
Dominic Galicia, National Museum
Renovation Project Team includes Dominic Galicia (in photo above) of Galicia Architects and Interior Designer Tina Periquet. 
ICOPHIL, Credit Clement Camposano
US-Philippines Society President Ambassador John F. Maisto, Siliman University, Dumaguete, Philippines
(Photo Credit: Clement Campasano)

8 July 2016, at the 10th International Conference on Philippines Studies held in Siliman University, Dumaguete, Philippines, over 300 scholars representing 95 unviersities worldwide exchanged ideas to "reimagine the colonial past and reframe contemporary explorations on Philippine cultures, society, the arts and literature." Society President Amb John F. Maisto offered his perspective on the historic events leading to the 1986 People Power transition. Historian Dr. Bernadita Churchill, President of Philippines Studies Association, Inc, was convenor of the conference.

U.S. and Philippine groups organized a ceremonial march to the Vietnam Memorial War Wall on the occasion of the 50th Death Anniversary of Capt. Ekwood "Kiko" Solomon, Jr. (11 March 1940 - 27 July 1966), the first American graduate of the Philippine Military Academy. Capt. Solomon chose to attend PMA on April 1959 to gain a unique and valuable experience in the Philippines. He was rewarded with friendship, admiration and respect by his Filipino cadets. Following various assignments, he volunteered for assignment to Vietnam where he was killed on July 27, 1966. His name appears on Panel 9E, Line 82 on the Wall.  

Representing the US-Philippines Society, Hank Hendrickson observed that the short but exemplary life of Capt. Solomon symbolized the close working relationship between Americans and Filipinos. The event was organized by Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, Inc. East Coast Chapter, USA.

Capt Solomon Credit PMA East Coast
Capt. Ekwood Harold Solomon, Jr., Philippine Military Academy, Baguio, Philippines
Capt Solomon Credit PMA East Coast
US-PH Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson, Chargé d'Affairés Patrick Chuasoto, Sonny Busa with PMAers in front of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall.

Turnover of Rehabilitated Pastrana Rural Health Unit to Local Officials in Leyte, Philippines

The rehabilitated  Pastrana Municipal Health Center in Leyte, Philippines, was officially inaugurated and turned over to local officials on August 6, 2016. A joint initiative of the US-Philippines Society and BDO Foundation, the philantropic arm of BDO Unibank, the project assisted reconstruction in areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. The health center serves more than 3,500 households with facilities for children and the elderly. Located about 45 minutes from Tacloban City, Pastrana Rural Health Unit also serves patients from neighboring areas.

BDO Foundation USPH Society Turnover
At the Turnover ceremony, BDO Foundation Program Director Rose Espinosa, BDO Tacloban-Zamora Branch Head Jean Culas and Pastrana Vice Mayor Edgar Empillo Sr. 
BDO Foundation USPH Society
The rehabilitation of Pastrana Rural Health Unit is part of efforts to help improve the delivery of healthcare services to calamity-stricken households in Leyte