Raising Awareness of Today's Philippines in the U.S.
A new decade of enriching PH and US ties
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On January 20, 2023, the Philippines and the United States concluded the 10th Bilateral Strategic Dialogue strengthening cooperation on a wide range of issues of common interest relating to security and economic prosperity. The two sides committed to a resumption of the Two-Plus-Two ministerial dialogue in April 2023, Trade and Investment Framework Agreement regular meetings, and a full implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Both governments agreed to cooperate on clean energy transition, IPEF and APEC, and on high quality, private sector-led infrastructure investment including U.S. efforts through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII), the Blue Dot Network, and Transaction Advisory Fund (TAF). Furthermore, both sides will collaborate on supply chains, including on semiconductors and green metals processing utilizing technology transfer or adaption and supporting capacity building initiatives.

When the Philippines and the United States reaffirmed the Visiting Forces Agreement in 2021, both countries took significant steps to build on the defense and security relationship amid evolving regional security threats. Both countries maintain a shared interest in upholding democratic values and principles and the vision of a free and open, prosperous and resilient Indo-Pacific region. With over 60 per cent of global maritime trade transiting through the region's international seas, the Philippines, United States and the international community have a stake in maintaining a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific anchored on an international maritime rules-based order in the South China Sea. To Philippine fisherfolks, the surrounding waters are a major source of livelihood.

The United States remains the Philippines' only defense treaty ally, trusted by 89 per cent of Filipinos based on a July 2022 Pulse survey. On February 3, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met PH Undersecretary Carlitos Galvez in Manila to continue discussions on the expansion of EDCA and accelerated modernization of the combined military capabilities. The visit was followed by phone calls on February 21 and March 20 to reaffirm commitment to the defense treaty, bolster defense capabilities to resist coercion, and discuss expanded security with Japan and like-minded nations. The U.S. offered assistance to mitigate ecological damage from the oil spill off Mindoro Island, Philippines.

At a January 31 Manila press conference, USPHS Co-Chair Ambassador John Negroponte stated that the U.S. maintains a strong interest in ASEAN and is supportive of ASEAN centrality. "The Philippines is an anchor on the Pacific side making U.S.-Philippines relations absolutely key in the framework," added President Amb John F. Maisto referring to the Indo-Pacific Strategy and Economic Framework launched in 2022.

In early 2023, the US-Philippines Society held forward-looking programs, seeking investment opportunities to form a sustainable economic base, maintaining regional stability, and promoting conflict resolution. US-PH Society directors met with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., followed by two-way exchanges with policy makers and business leaders to examine an emerging regional security order and support expanded trade and business presence particularly in economic zones, and also recognize women leaders in business and community development, and their service in times of health crisis.


2023 Preview of PH-US Relations

Courtesy call with Pres Marcos Jr.

Policy Briefing: US-PH Partnership

2023 Strategic Outlook in Asia Pacific and Business Forum

Development Frontier: New Clark City

Philippine Women Leaders in Business and Civil Society

Priority Legislative Agenda

BARMM Presentation

Fiscal Strategy and Prospects

Philippine Economic Zones

BARMM Peace and Development

Philippine Nurses in the U.S. Healthcare System

USS Telesforo Trinidad Ship Naming Celebration

In the News

Importance of Partnerships Amid Present Geopolitical Challenges

VIDEO: US-Philippines Society Meeting with President Marcos Jr

President Marcos: PH-US Ties as Important as they have ever been

U.S. Invigorating Ties with ASEAN

Speaker Romualdez calls for closer US-PHL Economic Cooperation

Diokno briefs US-Philippines Society on PH econ policies, identifies key areas of cooperation

PHL GSP renewal stalled as US works on IPEF

IPEF sidetracks other trade deals with US


Welcome to Clark: It Works Like a Dream

PEZA eyes more American investments in ecozones, targets 10% growth in 2023

Pulse Asia Survey: Form alliances to defend PH territorial rights


Our office has moved to:

1001 Connecticut Ave NW

Suite 704

Washington DC 20036

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. welcomed the US-Philippines Society delegation during a January 30, 2023 courtesy call in Malacañan Palace. Responding to Co-Chair Amb John Negroponte's remarks, the President described the heightened and productive engagements between the two countries on all fronts. The President acknowledged the importance of partnerships and alliances amid a more complex geopolitical landscape and South China Sea disputes.

The President recognized the presence of former U.S. Ambassadors to the Philippines John Negroponte, Thomas Hubbard, and Frank Wisner, diplomats and business executives in attendance. He appreciated the Society's interest in the Philippines and focus on strengthening the 70 plus years of PH-US relationship.

“I can only agree with Ambassador [John] Negroponte when he says that this is an auspicious time for the relations between our two countries. So these partnerships have become as important as they have ever been in our entire joint history. And that is why I am very happy to see that the US-Philippines Society is so active, ” stated President Marcos Jr.
Courtesy call by US-Philippines Society led by Co-Chairs Ambassador John D. Negroponte and Manuel V. Pangilinan with President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., January 30, 2023, Malacañan, Philippines. Source: PH Office of the Press Secretary Secretary Velicaria-Garafil.
On January 30, U.S. Ambassador MaryKay Carlson hosted the US-Philippines Society Board at a Policy Briefing at the American Embassy Residence, Makati City. Ambassador Carlson, Philippine Ambassador Jose M. Romualdez and Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary JV Chan-Gonzaga provided an overview of the strength and depth of the bilateral relationship over the last year signified by high level meetings between Presidents Biden and Marcos, Jr. in New York City, with visits by VP Kamala Harris, State Secretary Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary Austin in Manila. In 2023, the partnership will be reinforced with sustained high level engagement of business, military, and diplomatic missions to advance investment opportunities, public private partnerships, and resurgence of economic and other programs.

The US-Philippines Society welcomed the participation of SBA Communications, a U.S. company that invests in telecommunications infrastructure, and has recently entered the Philippines with plans to build towers to boost 5G capabilities. Robust digital connectivity has tremendous consequences not only in business productivity but in terms of influence in cyberspace, and security. 

White House Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs, Dr. Kurt Campbell joined the session by live video link with a comprehensive and candid presentation focusing on how U.S.-PH relations fit with Washington’s overall regional policy objectives. (Photos)
Dr. Kurt M. Campbell (via live video)
Deputy Assistant to the President and
Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs
Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez
Philippine Ambassador to the U.S.
Ambassador MaryKay Carlson
U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines
Assistant Secretary Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga
Department of Foreign Affairs.

A January 30 luncheon forum "Strategic Outlook: the Asia Pacific, and the PH-U.S. Relationship" featured a presentation by Society director Ambassador Frank Wisner of a broad strategic outlook on the U.S.-PH relationship and an emerging Asian security order that the U.S. should support.

"Allowing our friends and partners to take the lead, their defense must be a core ingredient in United States Asian security policy. We of course will stand ready to provide the arms and technologies required to make our Asian allies strong." stated Ambassador Wisner noting a regional security structure that will be more coordinated and constructive.

"Nations coming together to secure a balance of power do so to inhibit or deter an excessive use of force by an aggressor not to defeat the offending power militarily unless no other option exists," added Ambassador Wisner.

On economic cooperation with allies and global partners, Trade and Industry Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba briefed on the Marcos Administration’s open trade policy that facilitates investments, global value chain participation, and job creation. The Philippines has signified its interest to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership and push for the immediate ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. The Philippines participates in the U.S.-led IPEF and seeks a more permanent trade mechanism like a free trade agreement with market access preference.

The Department's trade strategies include industrialization that harness science and technology, creation of a Center for Artificial Intelligence Research, developing a vibrant startup ecosystem, and the launch of the Philippines Skills Framework to address skills mismatch, which are necessary steps for accelerating competitiveness in the ASEAN region and globally.

From the Philippine private sector, US-Philippines Society Director Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala provided a business perspective on the Philippine economy that expanded at 7.6 percent in 2022 led by industry and services. Remittances from overseas workers, who are an important national resource, and business processing operations remain strong drivers of economic expansion. As a member of President Marcos Private Sector Advisory Council, Director Zobel de Ayala described how public private partnerships and advisory committees are formed to address domestic challenges including high inflation, and identify opportunities in priority areas that include agriculture, healthcare, job generation, tourism, physical and digital infrastructure. (Photos)

Strategic Outlook panel speakers Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba , Ambassador Frank Wisner, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and moderator Executive Director Hank Hendrickson, Manila, 30 January 2023.
Development Frontier: New Clark City
The Manila program provided an update by President of the Bases Conversion Development Authority Aileen Zosa on the impressive transformation of former military facilities into thriving economic hubs. She presented opportunities in BCDA's new development frontier, the New Clark City, particularly in priority industries and sectors including pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing, multimodal transportation, mega data center, 40-watt solar farm, affordable housing, ecotourism, sports complex facilities, and research and development centers. Photos
BCDA President and CEO Aileen Zosa


A highlight of the US-Philippines Society Board program in Manila was a January 31 presentation by a distinguished panel of Philippine women entrepreneurs and innovators across key sectors of the Philippine economy. They are chief executive officers of business enterprises engaged in real estate, infrastructure, multi-specialty clinics and diagnostic centers, business process operations, renewable energy, financial services and digital payments. They are members of social enterprises providing jobs and training in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data preparation for women across the globe, advocating for women in the coffee industry across countries, and in corporate boards. Read more

Philippine Women Leaders Panelists: (l-r) Julia Abad, Racquel Cagurangan, Cosette Canilao, Christina Concepcion, Agnes Gervacio, Emma Imperial, Ruth Yu Owen, Pacita Juan and Martha Sazon, Makati City, Philippines, 31 January 2023.

The January 31 Legislative Luncheon featured a presentation by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, along with Representatives Stella Quimbo and Teoderico Haresco, Jr and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel. The Speaker described how the 19th Congress is positioned to support the administration’s Medium-Term Fiscal Framework and 8-Point Socio-Economic Agenda. The priority legislative agenda include the "SIM Registration Act (anti-cybercrime), E-governance Act, amendments to the EPIRA, national government rightsizing, and heath care-related measures. Sen Pimentel, one of just two opposition members of the Philippine Senate, noted the importance of airing diverse views in policy debates to ensure better outcomes for the country. Read more
House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (center right) is joined by Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III (center left) and Representative Stella Quimbo (left) and Teodorico Haresco, Jr. (right)


Director Henry B. Howard moderated a January 31 session for Board members and guests featuring officials from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao leadership, including Deputy Speaker Ustadz Abdulkarim Tan Misuari. Participants welcomed the opportunity to share the BARMM story with US-Philippines Society members. They expressed optimism about prospects for success in the autonomy process and looked forward to cooperation with Philippine government authorities and international development agencies. Director Howard provided a highly informative historical overview on the path from conflict to peace in the South, detailing the rich and troubled history of the region. The following day, Director Howard met with the BARMM Minister of Education in Cotabato City as part of the USPHS delegation. He also greeted Howard scholars, many of whom now hold key positions in the BARMM government.

USPHS Director Henry B. Howard

Deputy Speaker Ustadz Abdulkarim Tan Misuari

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno was the featured speaker during the January 31 economic forum where he outlined the benefits of participating with 14 IPEF partners in the U.S.-led Indo Pacific Economic Framework. He also shared the administration's medium term fiscal strategy "to bring down the debt-to-GDP ratio to less than 60 percent by 2025, reduce the deficit-to-GDP ratio to 3.0 percent by 2028, and maintain high investment rate in infrastructure at 5 to 6 percent of GDP annually,"

The Secretary underscored opportunities for American investors in the digitalization of the Philippine agriculture, elevating agricultural processes to the 21st century technology; the renewable energy sector, particularly in the exploration, development, and utilization of solar, wind, hydro, and tidal energy; and high-quality infrastructure. Secretary Diokno was joined by Chief Economic Counselor Undersecretary Zeno Abenoja and NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon (and a video briefing from NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan) in the discussion focusing on prospects for PH-US partnerships. Read more
Philippine Department of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, US-Philippines Society Economic Forum, 31 January, 2023, Makati City

Three informative investment forums were held in Washington DC co-hosted by the US-Philippines Society and the Philippine Embassy to explore lucrative investment prospects for American companies located in Economic Zones in the Philippines. Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) OIC Deputy Director General for Finance and Administration Aleem Guiapal and IT Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) President Jack Madrid gave testimonials of the Philippine government's commitment to fast tracking foreign investments, positioning as a regional hub and gateway to ASEAN, offering a suite of services including "one-stop-shop" convenience, expedited permits processing, and tax holidays up to four years. Foreign investors will benefit from "skilled talent pool with high emotional quotient, cost competitiveness, a robust ecosystem to support global service delivery, well-developed cities to house companies and favorable business environment," Madrid stated.

American companies in PEZA including Texas Instruments, JPMorgan Chase, American Power Conversion, are major contributors by way of employment and capital in the electronics and semiconductors, business processing operations and IT industries. Signifying confidence in the Philippines as a fast growing emerging market, a manufacturer, and in its dynamic workforce, U.S. companies have expressed interest to form a joint venture and expansion at PEZA meetings. (Photos)

PEZA OIC Deputy Director General Aleem Guiapal and IBPAP President Jack Madrid, Philippine Embassy, Washington DC, 12 January 2023

Inaugural Economic Meeting
US-PH Society held its first meeting at the new office in Washington DC. The roundtable discussion with PEZA, IBPAP, DTI and the Philippine Embassy Economic Affairs staff centered on promoting export-generating industries including food and agriculture, effective trade talks related to travel, footwear and apparel, and US-PH energy initiatives. (Photos)
Investments in the BARMM
The Bangsamoro government in Mindanao will have an important role in attracting and engaging investors as partners in economic development of the region. Establishing new special ecozones will spur economic growth, create jobs, and reduce crime. Read more

BARMM Peace and Development Roadmap
The autonomous Bangsamoro government recently passed a historic Bangsamoro Electoral Code but challenges to implementing the dual tracks to peace remain. The March 15 Southeast Asia Forum with US-Philippines Society Director Earl Gast and others, provided updates and offered recommendations to address lingering conflicts, unemployment, and lack of basic services. (Photos)
Overcoming Challenges to Peace and Development in...
Panelists Earl Gast of URC, Brian Harding of USIP and Aubrey Bahala of IAG were recently in Mindanao and shared their views on progress in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) during a March 15 online forum. They observed...
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Philippine Nurses in the U.S. Healthcare System
Washington, DC - A January 17 in-person forum provided an overview of the historical importance of the U.S. and Philippine professional exchanges that began in the early 20th century and a deep-dive into the complex forces behind the psyche of...
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The USS Telesforo Trinidad Ship
The USS Telesforo Trinidad (DDG-139) Ship Naming Celebration on Jan 10, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. USPHS member Brian Buzzell, Rep Bobby Scott (D-VA), Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, and Executive Director Hank Hendrickson. Outstanding turnout for this historic event, a long overdue recognition of actions by a Fil-Am hero and a celebration of US-PH naval partnerships.
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