US Philippines Society

  Raising Awareness of Today's Philippines in the US

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Budget Secretary Diokno Reports on Build Build Build

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno shared an upbeat perspective on prospects for real socio-economic progress at a Southeast Asia Lunch Seminar, April 18, moderated by Professor William Wise. Secretary Diokno outlined the Philippine government's socio-economic agenda to reduce poverty to 14% by 2022 and sustain average annual economic growth at 7%-8%. In support of these goals, the government has prioritized accelerated infrastructure as part of its $180 billion 5-year Build Build Build program and human capital development as key items in the National Budget of 2018. 

The IMF released a report supporting the administration's plans to raise infrastructure and social spending financed through tax revenues and a fiscal deficit up to 3 percent, while avoiding overheating the economy in order to preserve investor confidence.The team's economic growth forecast for the Philippines remains unchanged at 6.7 percent.  Read more .

Budget Priorities
Left: Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno presents 2018 Budget Priorities. Right photo: Secretary Diokno with co-sponsor representatives, l-r: Paul Shmotolokha (US-Philippines Society), Professor William Wise (Moderator), Anna Bantug-Herrera (The Asia Foundation).

Senator Legarda's Perspective on Sustainable Development, Technology and Bangsamoro Basic Law

On April 20 Senator Loren Legarda was the featured speaker at the CSIS-Pertamina Banyan Leadership Forum. The Senator who chairs the Philippine Senate's Committees on Foreign Relations, Finance and Climate Change provided a comprehensive overview of Philippine legislative reforms, prospects for passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and regional security initiatives. Senator Legarda emphasized her support for strengthening foreign relations with traditional and new allies and within ASEAN. She discussed her meetings with US Senate counterparts on opportunities for application of cutting-edge renewable energy technology in Marawi recovery, and other issues. The US-Philippines Society partnered with CSIS - Southeast Asia Program in organizing the leadership forum. Read more

Senator Legarda at CSIS
(L-R) Hank Hendrickson, US-Philippines Society Executive Director; Ambassador (ret.) Thomas Hubbard, US-Philippines Society Board Director; Committee Chair on Foreign Relations Senator Loren Legarda; Dr. Amy Searight, Director of the CSIS Southeast Asia Program; Ambassador (ret.) John Maisto, US-Philippines Society President; Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez; and Henry Howard, Philippine Honorary Consul in Florida and US-Philippines Society Board Director. April 20, 2018, Washington, DC. 

Photo credit Sen Legarda
Sen Legarda Paul Shmotolokha
Senator Loren Legarda, US-Philippines Society Co-chair Ambassador John D. Negroponte (left photo) and Director Paul Shmotolokha (right photo) shared insights on how to further enhance US-Philippine economic relations through culture, education, and areas of international cooperation particularly in promoting clean and sustainable energy. April 18, 2018, Washington, DC. Photo credit: Office of Senator Legarda.

Reception iho PH delegation
Photo credit Legarda
Left: Budget Secretary Diokno and Senator Legarda lead  the Philippine Delegation to the 2018 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group, April 18-20, 2018 in Washington DC. Photo credit: Philippine Embassy. Right: Senator Legarda and U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, chairman of the Subcommittee On East Asia, The Pacific, And International Cyber Security Policy, discuss cooperation on renewable energy infrastructure and counter-terrorism measures. Photo credit: Office of Senator Legarda.
Explore Islands Philippines Expo

Explore Islands Philippines, a four-day tourism and investment expo, May 9-12, was held at Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall in New York City. The event showcased the Philippines, a nation with 7,641 islands and a population of 103 million, as an attractive vacation and investment destination in Asia. T he Philippines was ranked as the best country for investment, according to  a survey of business decision-makers conducted recently by US News and World Report. The survey cited the country's strong macroeconomic fundamentals, domestic consumption, flourishing tourism industry and billions of dollars of remittances from overseas workers. The Expo attracted daily NYC commuters to the sights and sounds of beautiful beaches, abundant biodiversity and  Filipino culture of dance, music and cuisine. The Expo drew the attention of businesses during panel presentations on topics that ranged from air travel, science, architecture, and sustainability.  

Explore Islands PH
Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations Teodoro Locsin, Jr (right) welcomes dignitaries at the opening ceremonies at the Grand Central Terminal Exhibit Hall, May 9, 2018.  Photo credit: Philippine Embassy
Photo credit Explore Islands Philippines
L-R: JS Productions Founder and Expo Producer Jerry Sibal, Architectural Associate Director Nicolas Medrano, US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson (panel moderator) and Project Manager Associate Vram Malek, New York City

Architecture, Green Buildings and Sustainability

On May 9, Architectural Associate Director Nicolas Medrano and Project Manager Associate Vram Malek,   both of Skidmore Owings & Merrill s (SOM), spoke about high performance design at Explore Islands Philippines. SOM is a global  architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firm. SOM has designed several award-winning skyscrapers in the Philippines, including Nex TowerThe Curve Tower, and the Zuellig Building in Manila, and the ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower in Bonifacio Global City. The ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower recently won two Property Guru Asia Property Awards: Best Office Architectural Design for all of Asia, and Best Green Development.
Explore Islands PH
Rhonda Binda and Hank Hendrickson
Smart Cities Innovation in the Philippines

Rhonda Binda who is the Co-Founder & VP Policy for Venture Smarter and Executive Director of the Regional Smart Cities Initiative, presented "Smart Cities-Innovation Leading to the Future of the Philippines."

US-Philippines Society Directors and McLarty Associates host DTI Undersecretary Rodolfo in Washington DC, May 31. 
Exploring Expanded US-Philippines Trade Ties

McLarty Associates hosted a May 31 discussion on US-Philippines trade and investment with Trade and Industry Undersecretary for Industry Development Ceferino Rodolfo, former Acting Deputy USTR Wendy Cutler and former US Chamber Senior VP for Asia Tami Overby and US-Philippines Society Directors and John Brandon of The Asia Foundation.  The visit followed Deputy US Trade Representative (USTR) Jeffrey D. Gerrish's May 23  mission to the Philippines to discuss strengthening trade opportunities and a possible FTA.
Iloilo Trade Mission
Iloilo designer Jaki PeƱalosa's "wedding collection" was among the featured handloom woven  hablon  fashionwear at the show.
From Iloilo City to Washington DC: A Day of Business and Fashion  

Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III led a delegation from the progressive city of Iloilo in the central Philippines to the US capital on June 7, 2018.

The event co-sponsored by the Philippine Embassy, Iloilo City government, US-Philippines Society and PACC held panel discussions on agri-business and information technology and a showcase of Ilonggo Fashion and Jewelry at the Philippine Embassy. 
Marawi: A Year After the Siege
At a June 4 Marawi Siege Forum,  the Asia Foundation's country representative for the Philippines Sam Chittick and USPHS professional affiliate  Aleem Guiapal, former executive director of the ARMM Regional Economic Zone Authority,   provided an overview and update on Philippine government Task Force Bangon Marawi's rehabilitation plan one year after the outbreak of violence. They shared insights on risks and challenges, areas of progress, and policy recommendations aimed at integrating displaced persons back  into the mainstream of Maranao life.

The Marawi siege displaced more than 350,000 residents and left extensive damage to personal and public property in the city center. Cost of the Philippine government's rehabilitation plan is estimated at $934 million. USAID has committed $26.4 million for Marawi recovery. On June 23, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klecheski announced $5.55 million in new assistance for humanitarian and recovery work in and around Marawi bringing the total U.S. government contribution to $31.55 million. Non-government charitable organizations have contributed to the recovery effort, including more than $22,000 raised by the US-Philippines Society for the livelihood, education and medical needs of evacuees.    Read more

Anna Bantug-Herrera (left), the Asia Foundation Senior Director moderated the forum. Featured speakers: Aleem Guiapal (center), 2017 Hubert H Humphrey Fellow, and Sam Chittick via Skype (right), the Asia Foundation Director for the Philippines

The Children of Marawi Project

"The Children of Marawi Project" is a collaborative effort of the US-Philippines Society, the Philippines Disaster Resilience Foundation, and the Project Handclasp Foundation (PHF) to bring health and education services to children of families displaced during the 2017 five-month Marawi siege. 

The Project aims to improve health conditions in the first relocation site in Barangay Sagonsongan that will house 1,300 internally displaced families and also serve as a convergence center for surrounding evacuation centers. In addition, it will provide educational assistance to internally-displaced children through learning spaces powered by alternative learning tools including "the e-school in a box."

The project is made possible through the generosity of PHF in honor of the late U.S. Navy commander Charles Tevelson, who led PHF for 39 years. Under PHF, American companies and charities donated products, including medical and educational supplies for distribution by Sailors and Marines in underserved parts of the world to foster community relations, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.  

In keeping with the mission of PHF, Foundation chair Admiral Daniel McKinnon and the Board, felt it was important to support Muslim children of an allied nation as a unique legacy of hope.
Photo credit PDRF
A child in a Temporary Learning Space, Barangay Sagonsongan Relocation Site, Marawi. Pictorial Report by PDRF, June 2018.

Mindanao Officials in Washington DC

US-Philippines Society President Ambassador John F. Maisto participated in a discussion, April 9, with a visiting ARMM delegation. 

The U.S. Department of State, through the US Embassy in Manila, selected and invited local executives from the ARMM to Washington under the International Visitors Leadership Program on "Local Government in Conflict Zones" from April 8-18, 2018. The project aimed to familiarize the ARMM officials with the US federal system and share best practices of community engagement to counter crime, drug abuse, extremism, and other social concerns.
ARMM Leadership Seminar US State Department
Maranao participants from ARMM include, among others, Regional Vice Governor Haroun-al-Rashid Lucman, Jr., Vice Governor Mamintal Bombit Alonto Adiong, Jr., Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra, Mayor Dimnatang Pansar of Butig, Mayor Ali Sumandar of Piagapo, Mayor Nashiba Gandamra-Sumagayan of Taraka, and Mayor Sharifullah Tanog of Pualas. Photo credit: U.S. State Department

Featured Guest NCCA Chair Virgilio Almario and Professor Erwin Tiongson

Appreciating Philippine Art and Culture in Washington DC
On June 11,  US-Philippines Society and Sentro Rizal Washington DC organized a presentation, Philippine Culture and the Arts: Reflections by Virgilio Almario  at the Philippine Embassy. National Commission for Culture and the Arts Chair Virgilio Almario joined culture enthusiast Professor Erwin Tiongson for an informal discussion centered on noted Philippine artists and their works on display in museums and institutions in Washington DC.  Read more

Featured Speaker Dr. Renato Solidum and Hank Hendrickson

Science-Based Approach to Disaster Risk Reduction
On May 21, Dr. Renato Solidum, Undersecretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, presented the national government's contingency plan that harnesses collaborative, science-based and innovative initiatives to enhance Philippine resilience to disasters. Read more

Filipina Chef Abie Sincioco-Mateo presents the Award-winning Dish, Sisig.

Philippine Sisig Garnered Top Awards at DC's Annual Culinary Challenge

Sisig, a Philippine dish prepared by Philippine Embassy's Chef Abie Sincioco-Mateo, was voted by food critics and Washingtonians as the best among over 24 entries representing participating embassies at the 2018 Embassy Chef Challenge, held on Thursday, May 17, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

Chef Abie Sincioco-Mateo along with Chef Jessie C. Sincioco accepted two First Place Awards: the Judge's Choice Award and the People's Choice Award on behalf of the Philippine Embassy in the U.S. Read more.

Wash SyCip Remembrance
Participants and distinguished guests honored the late Wash SyCip. L-R: Executive Director Hank Hendrickson, Ambassador John D. Negroponte, Mark Fuller, George SyCip, William M. Wise, Acting Principal DAS W. Patrick Murphy, Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez, Congressman Bobby Scott and Ambassador John F. Maisto

Washington Z. SyCip Remembrance

The US-Philippines Society honored the late Washington Z. SyCip with a celebration of his remarkable life and legacy on June 26 at the Philippine Embassy, Washington, D.C. Mr. SyCip helped found the Society and served as an honorary chair. 

In a video message, Honorary Chair Maurice Greenberg admired Wash SyCip's business acumen and vision. Co-chair Amb John D. Negroponte detailed how Wash SyCip provided wise counsel and advice to American diplomats.  George SyCip described his father's life-long commitment to learning, high standards of professionalism, humility and love for the Philippines.     Read more