US Philippines Society

  Raising the Philippines' profile in the US

The 70th anniversary of the US-PH bilateral diplomatic relationship will be remembered for uncharted political realities. On November 8, President-elect Donald Trump, a well-known real estate developer and media personality, won the election that defied polling surveys and will become the 45th President of the United States of America on January 20, 2017. President Rodrigo Duterte was among the first world leaders to congratulate the President-elect. Filipino Americans are among many constituents who are hopeful that strong bilateral engagement will continue to benefit both countries under the new Trump administration.

We close 2016 with the 4th Quarterly Highlights Report, a summary of programs and events sponsored by the US-Philippines Society designed to better understand the dynamics associated with political transitions in the Philippines and the United States and to support enduring  bilateral ties, people to people linkages, civil society, trade and investment.
Economic Outlook Panel
Panelists (l-r) Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Meredith Miller, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, and Amb. John F. Maisto

On 6 October, speaking to an audience of international finance experts, US-Philippines Society President Ambassador John F. Maisto offered his perspective on doing business in the Philippines, citing strong consumer-driven expansion and a robust infrastructure spending program. The economy posted annualized GDP growth of 7.1% in the third quarter. Amb. Maisto expressed optimism that improvements in law and order and economic liberalization will open opportunities especially in untapped regions of Mindanao and priority sectors including infrastructure, power and water, agribusiness, housing, fisheries and tourism.
SAIS PH RTB First 100 Days
Ambassador  John F. Maisto

Ambassador Maisto presented an in-depth analysis of the policy direction of the new Duterte administration at the SAIS PH Round table on 12 October. He cited President Duterte's domestic agenda aimed at enhancing peace and order, reducing corruption and red tape, addressing traffic congestion, strengthening environmental protections, fighting criminality in general and the drug trade in particular. 

Amb Maisto cited the Duterte administration's commitment to a strategic balance with other states. He also noted that President Duterte continues to enjoy high public approval ratings.

Ambassador Maisto credited the U.S. with a policy of continued, patient, smart engagement with the new Philippine government, showing understanding of and patience regarding what is driving President Duterte's agenda, and focusing on areas of common agreement, particularly, providing assistance on drug rehabilitation, combating maritime drug trade and terrorism, promoting more equitable growth, responding to natural disasters, expanding business opportunities, supporting programs aimed at reducing poverty and disease, encouraging regional integration and stability, and strengthening education and people to people ties.
Policy Analysts Focus on Public Health Issues
Aimed at raising awareness of the magnitude of the drug epidemic in the Philippines, the US-Philippines Society in partnership with the JHU Southeast Asia Studies, sponsored a December 12 forum titled "Philippines 2016: Confronting the Drug Epidemic." Panelists examined the public health issues related to illegal drugs and offered policy recommendations from experts and lessons learned from other nations.

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PH Drug Forum
Panelists (l-r): Dr. Randy Koch, Dr. Leonardo Estacio, Jr., Undersecretary Rommel Garcia and Panel Chair Hank Hendrickson
PH Drug Forum
Keynote Speaker Assistant Secretary of State William R. Brownfield, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
US Elections
From left, Anchor Rody Alampay of Bloomberg TV Philippines and US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson (Video Provided by Bloomberg TV Philippines)


In a live broadcast interview on 8 November by Roby Alampay of Bloomberg TV Philippines that reached influential audience in the Philippines, Executive Director Hank Hendrickson stressed the importance of the 4 million Filipino Americans, a growing constituency, in the 2016 US Election, and the group's support for continued engagement of the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Dr. Renato Cruz de Castro

On 16 November 2016, at the JHU SAIS Philippines Round table, Professor Renato Cruz de Castro examined the Philippines' strategic moves to revive diplomatic linkages and economic activities with regional powers, particularly with China, and Japan, while maintaining a non-permanent U.S. military presence in the Philippines.  In the photo, l-r, Prof Karl Jackson (moderator), Dr. Renato Cruz de Castro, and Executive Director Hank Hendrickson.

On 17-19 November, US-PHS Co-chair Ambassador John D. Negroponte convened a 2-day workshop  on strategic developments in the South China Sea  at the prestigious Aspen Wye River Conference Center, Maryland, . The workshop attracted policymakers and experts on China, Japan, Vietnam, India and the Philippines. Findings were to become part of a policy review for the incoming administration.   

As discussant at the December 13 Philippine Trade and Economic Officers Planning Meeting, Ambassador John F. Maisto offered his views on future growth prospects in bilateral trade and investment, building on strong business support structures, education, and the Philippine diaspora - features that have attracted over 700 American firms to the Philippines. 
U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim is sworn-in by Secretary John Kerry 

U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim, a highly qualified career diplomat with broad experience in US-East Asia relations, committed to strengthening bilateral relations  on multi-dimensional levels. In support of Ambassador Kim, US-Philippines Society directors, partners and members attended the ceremony held on 3 November at the State Department, Washington DC.

Amb Kim speaks to Guests
Ambassador Sung Kim addresses Washington dignitaries and supporters, Washington DC, 3 November 2016
Amb Kim presents credentials to Pres Duterte
Ambassador Kim presents his credentials to President Rodrigo Duterte, Malacanang Palace, Philippines, 8 December 2016
US-Philippines Society and Diplomatic Relations 

On 7 November 2016, President Duterte appointed Special Envoy for Trade to the United States Ambassador Jose E. B. Antonio, a US-Philippines Society Board member. Philippine Honorary Consul Henry B. Howard was appointed on April 2015. The two USPHS directors aim to promote robust US-Philippines 21st century relations.

Amb Antonio
Ambassador Jose Eduardo B. Antonio (left) converses with President Duterte while Co-chair John Negroponte ((left), Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Amb John F. Maisto (center) listen, June 24 2016.
Courtesy Call Howard
Honorary Consul Henry B. Howard paid a courtesy call on President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Malacanan Palace, Dec 2016
Amb Negroponte Dec 2016

On 1-2 December, Ambassador John D. Negroponte traveled to Manila to promote US-PH ties. At a breakfast meeting, he spoke on US-Philippines business prospects with members of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (see photo). He also met with US-PH Society Co-chair Manuel V. Pangilinan and members of the US-PH Society to plan the upcoming Board of Directors meeting. He held meetings with Philippine Secretaries Perfecto Yasay and Delfin Lorenzana, and National Security Adviser Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Special Envoy to the United States Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez, former Secretary Albert Del Rosario and Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.

The US-Philippines Society and the Philippine Business Chamber of New York sponsored a fashion show and the book launching of "Philippine Faces and Places" by Phil Dizon. The black-tie event, COUTURE CULTURE CHANGE, was held at the Grand Hyatt New York Empire Ballroom on 1 October 2016. Indigenous Philippine fabrics of silk, hablon, jusi, abaca, cotton, and pina were showcased by featured designers Andrada and Penalosa. The Event4Good organized the fashion show and benefit gala for the Bantay Bata Program of the ABS-CBN Foundation and the Global Action Platform. Photo credit: Edwin Ochoa

Culture Couture Change
Designer Albert Andrada (right) with model

Phil Dizon, PH Faces and Places
Launch of the book "Philippine Faces and Places"

Culture Couture Change
A Creation by featured Philippine Designer Jaki Penalosa


In collaboration with Rita M. Cacas Foundation, Inc. and the Philippine Embassy, the US-Philippines Society celebrated Filipino-American History Month and Archives Month, with a symposium entitled "Philippine American Food Experiences in Washington, D.C. - Yesterday and Today," at the Philippine Embassy on 27 October 2016. The event sought to chronicle popular gathering places dating back some 80 years, including the Manila House, a Literary Landmark, where Filipino home cooked meals were offered. Esteemed restaurateurs related their personal stories and insights into the recent popularity of Philippine cuisine in the Metro Washington, DC region.

Istorya DC 2016
Panelists: (l-r) Nila Toribio-Straka, Manny Tagle (Bistro 7101), Patrice Cleary (Purple Patch), Amanda Andrei O'Connor, Dr. Ricky Punzalan (moderator), Gem Daus (moderator), Rita Cacas(RMCF), Katrina Villavicencio (Timpla Supper Club).

The Rita M. Cacas Foundation displayed vintage photos, cookbooks, menus and more in celebration of Archive Month. Photos of Filipino navy stewards serving at the White House at the time of President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan and President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter. 
Our membership campaign continues in 2017. The US Philippines Society is a private sector initiative organized to broaden and expand interaction and understanding in areas of security, trade, investments, tourism, history, education and culture between the United States and the Philippines.

It is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to build on the rich and longstanding historical ties between the two nations and help to bring that unique relationship into the 21st century at a junction when U.S. policy interests are increasingly focused on East Asia.