US Philippines Society

  Raising the Philippines' profile in the US

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A Framework for bilateral cooperation to strengthen  peace and security

At the conclusion of the ASEAN Leaders' Summit last April 30, President Trump phoned President Duterte, Chairman of the 2017 ASEAN, to discuss regional security, including concerns over North Korea's nuclear weapons tests and ballistic missile program. President Duterte issued a statement on behalf of the 10-nation bloc in response to missile tests by North Korea raising concerns  that "the actions of the DPRK have resulted in an escalation of tensions that can affect peace and stability in the entire region, and (urged) the DPRK to immediately comply fully with its obligations arising from all relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions." 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with ASEAN Foreign Ministers to discuss U.S.-ASEAN relations,U.S.engagement in the region, concerns over tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and peaceful resolution in accordance with principles of international law in the South China Sea dispute.
4 May, 2017, Washington DC.

Brazen attacks by the 
Maute and  Abu-Sayyaf groups in Marawi City on May 23 inflicted widespread destruction, the displacement of over 400,000 residents, and hundreds of casualties. As Philippine forces moved to retake the city, the United States provided assistance through surveillance support, training in urban warfare techniques and provision of ammunition and equipment. In June, the U.S. Navy combat ship USS Coronado and the Philippine frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz carried out joint patrols in the Sulu Sea. Bilateral maritime exercises, SAMA SAMA 2017, strengthened cooperation and interoperability between the two nations' armed forces. 

U.S. Pacific Fleet C ommander  Adm. Scott Swift visited the Philippines, June 11-14, to reaffirm the bilateral partnership u nder the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Enhanced Cooperation Defense Agreement. T he two sides cooperate on defense issues, counter-terrorism, intelligence and disaster assistance.

On its f ifth year, the US-Philippines Society remains committed to providing programs and information that build on the rich and longstanding historical ties between the two nations. 


At an April 6 forum in Washington prior to the Marawi crisis, Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) described initiatives of the Philippine government and the ARMM toward peace, security, and socio-economic development in Mindanao. With the election of Rodrigo Duterte as the first president from Mindanao, there had been optimism about increased government attention on development in the southern Philippines. 

During his inaugural address last year, the President stated that his administration "is committed to implement all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms." He approved a six-point peace and development agenda that embodies an agreement between the Philippine government and key Muslim Filipino groups to promote peace and development in conflict areas. In the wake of renewed fighting, these political and developmental initiatives take on added urgency.

Photo credit PH Embassy
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, Muslim Mindanao Forum,  
April 6, Washington D.C.

Bangsamoro Transition Committee
President Duterte signs the executive order reconstituting the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in Malacañan, November 2016. From left, MILF Peace Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, and GPH Panel Chair Irene Santiago. File photo by Presidential Photographer.


At our 15 June forum, "Mindanao Update in the Aftermath of Marawi: Political, Security and Development," the Asia Foundation's new country representative for the Philippines Sam Chittick provided valuable insights into the Marawi crisis. The roundtable presentation, organized by the US-Philippines Society in partnership with SAIS Southeast Asia Studies in Washington D.C., covered the root causes, key actors, responses, damage, dislocation, and challenges ahead. 

Presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza convened the Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC) to finalize the crafting of the enhanced and enabling Bangsamoro Basic Law seen by many as the best option for peace. The committee will submit the draft to the Office of the President and to Congress this month. 

On the occasion of the Philippines' Independence Day, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated, "the US will honor the enduring U.S.-Philippine alliance," and offered support as the country confronts the rise of terrorism in the southern Philippines. US military officials provided weapons and equipment to enhance counter-terrorism capabilities of Philippine Marines actively engaged in the clash with militant groups. USAID has provided relief supplies.

Residents fleeing the fighting in Marawi City queue at a government checkpoint as they make their way to evacuation centers. 
Photo credit: Philippine Inquirer

A Public Lecture by BSP Governor Tetangco

Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. was honored at an April 18 reception at the Philippine Embassy following his last public lecture in Washington DC. US-Philippines Society President Ambassador John F. Maisto thanked the Governor for his "guiding hand contributing to the broadening of US-Philippines relations and the decision to launch the US-Philippines Society five years ago." T he Governor completed his term after four decades with the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Under his leadership, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has effectively strengthened the banking system through robust reforms.  In a move reflecting a commitment to stability and policy continuity, President Duterte appointed BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr. to succeed Governor Tetangco.

Tetangco presented a positive global outlook and assured investors of sustainable economic growth for the Philippines in 2017-2018.  Read more

US-Philippines Society Directors Attended the Lecture and Reception in honor of BSP Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. From left, Executive Hank Hendrickson, US Chamber of Commerce Director John Goyer, Chargé d'Affaires Patrick Chuasoto, President Amb John F. Maisto, Governor Tetangco, Honorary Consul Henry B. Howard, and Co-chair Ambassador John D. Negroponte.


Journalist and best-selling author Marites D. Vitug gave an insightful presentation, April 19, on Duterte's presidential style, the inner workings of his cabinet and the role of media. In the first nine months, Duterte's pronouncements against illegal drugs and pursuit of an independent foreign policy gained acceptance domestically while generating criticism by international media. Duterte's ambitious agenda on infrastructure,10-point socio-economic reforms, lower personal taxes for low to moderate income households and competitive corporate rates, are moving through the legislative process. Based on latest surveys, Duterte's public approval rating remains high through his first year in office.

SAIS roundtable
Featured Speaker Marites Vitug (left center) offered her views on the first nine months of the Duterte Administration. JHU SAIS Southeast Asia Studies Program, Washington, D.C.
Front Row: (l-r) Roberto Llames, Amb John F. Maisto, Acting Secretary Enrique A. Manalo, Honorary Consul Henry B. Howard 
Back Row: (l-r) Leonardo Canseco, Hank Hendrickson, Christopher Padilla, Hilda L. Gigioli, Asst Secretary Maria Andrelita S. Austria, Chargé d'Affaires Patrick A. Chuasoto, Brian Miller, JJ Ong, Amb Thomas C. Hubbard, and Sonny Busa (FilvetREP).  

Led by US-Philippines Society President Ambassador John F. Maisto and Ambassador Thomas C. Hubbard, Society directors met with Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo to discuss US-Philippines interests and the Philippines' hosting of the US-ASEAN Summit meeting in November which President Trump has committed to attend. The Secretary was in Washington DC to attend a US-ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

On 10 May, President Duterte appointed  Alan Peter Cayetano as  the new Foreign Affairs Secretary .

From Left: Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Atty. Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, Amb John F. Maisto, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aquirre II, Judge Toribio Ilao, Jr. and Hank Hendrickson. (Photo credit: Philippine Embassy)The delegation was in Washington DC for observation meetings on the American Judicial selection process.


On April 27, the US-Philippines Society hosted a meeting with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and members of the Justice and Bar Council. Among the topics discussed was the recently signed four-year US-Philippines Child Protection Compact Partnership aimed to deter child trafficking and exploitation through prosecution and conviction of offenders and comprehensive public awareness. In support of the project, the Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons will facilitate up to $3.5 million in U.S. foreign assistance funds. 


To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battles of Bataan and Corregidor, the US-Philippines Society in collaboration with the Philippine Embassy, hosted a well-attended launch of the book, Cadet, Soldier, Guerrilla Fighter by Filipino soldier and author, Antonio Nieva, in Washington DC on May 18. The panel discussion that followed highlighted the courage and bravery of thousands of Filipino and American soldiers who fought side by side in World War II. 

To honor veterans' sacrifices, the US-Philippines Society and the Nieva family conducted fundraising efforts to support the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project. Following the passage of the Filipino Veterans of World War II Act of 2015, the FilvetREP project was created to provide bronze medal replicas to thousands of veterans and families. A national award ceremony is planned in October. Read more

National Archives_ Department of Defense Record
On May 6, 1942, the garrison of Filipino and American soldiers in Corregidor surrenders after months of fierce fighting. 

 L-R: Panelists: Sonny Busa, Pepi Nieva and Hank Hendrickson
(Photo credit: Philippine Embassy, Washington DC)


Celeste Lecaroz's  two paintings of the William A. Jones Memorial Bridge in Manila were presented to the Richmond County Museum and the family of Congressman William Atkinson Jones in Warsaw, Virginia on May 12, as part of the celebration of the centennial anniversary of the 1916 Philippine Autonomy Act, known as the Jones Act for Philippine Independence.

Executive Director Hank Hendrickson credited the sponsor of The Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916 that realized the promise of greater autonomy for Filipinos. "The US would stay in the Philippines, but on the condition that as it did so, America would work to strengthen Philippine institutions as a basis for modern, twentieth century governance. What Congressman William A. Jones did was to nail down legislation and legislative assurances that that political bargain was kept," Hendrickson stated at the presentation of the paintings.

"For our part, Americans might better understand and appreciate the role of Filipino leaders at the time. In both Manila and Washington, the leadership skillfully engaged American counterparts to break down preconceived notions, prejudices, and provide assurances about the capacity for independent governance," he added.  Read more

Warsaw VA
Top photo at the Richmond County Museum in Virginia. 
L-R: Malcolm Churchill (back row), Lorna Chan-Gonzaga, Bernardita Churchill, Darell Artates, Marvin Aceron, Celeste Lecaroz (Painter/Artist), Becky Marks, Reverend Torrence Harman, Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga. Back row (l-r): David Jett and Hank Hendrickson.

Right photo at the Jones Family Historical Home, Warsaw, VA.
L-R: Hank Hendrickson, Anne Gilfillan, Rusty Gilfillan.
Warsaw VA

Binalot,  Grilled Pork marinated in Philippine Sauce with Quail Egg Wrapped in Banana Leaf


Representing the Philippines in the 2017 Embassy Chef Challenge, Chef Red Garcia introduced the Philippine lunchbox, binalot, of grilled pork marinated in Philippine sauce with quail eggs wrapped in banana leaf and complemented with a "Rizal" drink, a cocktail mix of guavamansi soda and gin. The Philippine Embassy with support from the US-Philippines Society participated in the May 24 annual gathering held at the Ronald Reagan Building that drew food critics and Washingtonians to taste culinary offerings from over 30 countries and highlighted achievements in modern Philippine cuisine.
Read more
US-Philippines Society President Amb John F. Maisto
(Photo credit: ABS-CBN)


At the May 26 Los Angeles Tribute to Coach Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan, US-Philippines Society President Ambassador Maisto described that "reading the biography of Coach Dalupan was seeing memorable descriptions of what the Philippines was living through its basketball culture and also the changes of what was going on in the county." The event drew an overflow crowd of some two hundred basketball enthusiasts.

Introduced in the Philippines by Americans through the YMCA in 1900, the game of basketball is Philippines' favorite sports pastime. The Philippines formed its first national team in 1913 and proceeded to win in international competition. In 1976, Coach Dalupan led the Crispa Redmanizers to win all conference championships in a single season. In his remarks, Los Angeles California Consul General Adelio Angelito S. Cruz attributed Coach Dalupan's winning strategy to his "ability to be ahead of the game and eye for talent."

Executive Director Hank Hendrickson


US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson used the May 18 Nieva book forum to recall how political evolution during the 30-year period between 1916 and 1946 laid "a groundwork of cooperation between America and the Philippines and bolstered Filipino confidence in the promise of self-government," forming the foundation for an enduring alliance. Read the Full Text

At a May 24 conference sponsored by  the American Foreign Service Association,  Hendrickson discussed 21st century bilateral relations based on core principles of democratic values and shared economic prosperity.