US Philippines Society

  Raising the Philippines' profile in the US

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Board Meets President Duterte, Senior Officials, Business Leaders

The US-Philippines Society marked its fifth anniversary with a 5-day visit to Manila highlighted by a courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte on 20 February. Led by Co-chairs Manuel V. Pangilinan and Ambassador John D. Negroponte, the bi-national group of 30 board members engaged with private sector and government officials as part of an effort to strengthen bilateral relations during a period of political transitions in both countries. The Board gained insights into the administration's domestic and foreign policy agenda that focuses on inclusive growth and business-friendly initiatives. 

USPHS Courtesy Call
President Duterte greets US Ambassador Sung Kim, Amb John D. Negroponte and US-Philippines Society Directors, 20 February, Malacanang Palace.

Courtesy Call on PRRD
Former Ambassador to the Philippines Thomas C. Hubbard with US-Philippines Society Directors
USPHS Courtesy Call 2017
President Rodrigo R. Duterte 
Courtesy Call on PRRD
US-Philippines Society Directors: Front row (l-r) President Amb John F. Maisto, Special Envoy Jose E.B. Antonio, Honorary Chair Washington Z. Sycip, President Duterte, Ross Matthews, Hilda Gigioli, Henry B. Howard, Roberto Llames. Back row: Cirilo Noel, Executive Director Hank Hendrickson and Leo Canseco.
Courtesy Call
President Duterte accepts a book from Director and Honorary Consul Henry B. Howard.

2017 Legislative Agenda: Federalism, Business and Investment

Senate President Pimentel
(L-R) Amb John F. Maisto, Co-chair Manuel V. Pangilinan, Senate President Aquilino PImentel, Co-chair Amb John D. Negroponte

(L-R) Panelists Senator Grace Poe and
Amb John D. Negroponte

Panelists: (l-r) Senate President Pimentel, Co-chair Manuel V.Pangilinan, Representative Maximo Rodriguez, and Philippine Honorary Consul Henry B. Howard
The forum featured key legislators, including Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Senator Grace Poe and Cagayan de Oro Representative Maximo B. Rodriguez. Panelists discussed legislative and regulatory reforms t o boost foreign direct investment.

Proponents of a new federal system of government support the goal of increased participation by all regions in national development, equitable distribution of resources, shared benefits,  and more inclusive economic growth. Federalism can also accelerate development in t he autonomous region in southern Mindanao and yield a peace dividend. 

With the Duterte Administration's focus on the southern Philippines, the delegation heard about the Mindanao Development Corridor program in five geographical areas in the south to promote inter-connectivity of roads, logistics support and industrial development.

2017 Philippine Economic Outlook

Amb Maisto Sec Lopez
US-Philippines Society President Amb John F. Maisto and Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez
Economic Panel Presentation by Cabinet Secretaries. Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, NEDA Director and Socio-Economic Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, and Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno

The Administration's top economic managers led by Finance Secretary Dominguez briefed on their ambitious agenda to sustain high economic growth momentum in 2017 and beyond. The panel identified public spending in key priority areas - infrastructure, capacity building, and social services. They anticipate that comprehensive tax reform by Congress, a more efficient tax collection system, and new financing from Asian countries will generate revenues to carry out the government's agenda. Deficits and inflation are expected to remain within the target range.

Notwithstanding unpredictable external factors, the policy makers are confident about ASEAN regional economic growth. 

Asian economies continue to register growth rates that exceed the rest of the world. The adoption of integrated economic communities, including APEC, ASEAN and RCEP, facilitate   increased trade and investment links across the region. As the ASEAN Chair, the Philippines will guide the 2017 Southeast Asia regional agenda on trade and security. 

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Chairman of the Philippines-US Business Council, led a discussion entitled "A View from Washington" with leading Southeast Asia experts, Society Co-chair Ambassador John D. Negroponte and former Ambassador to the Philippines Thomas C. Hubbard. The panel  described the evolving and mature US-Philippines alliance as  President Trump's foreign policy in Southeast Asia continues to take shape. 

The Philippine armed forces cooperates with the U.S. on defense issues, counter-terrorism intelligence and disaster assistance. Since 2011, the Philippines has received over $5 billion in assistance from the US Agency for International Development.  For the United States, t he Philippines remains an important trade and security partner. T he withdrawal of the United States from TPP offers options for bilateral trade arrangements.  The US supports the Arbitral decision that favored the Philippines and efforts to resolve maritime disputes in the South China Sea peacefully and through the rule of law. The former diplomats noted that o n a personal level, the two presidents appear to have established a good relationship.

Amb Cuisia
Former Ambassador to the Philippines Jose L. Cuisia Jr. welcomes the panelists and delegation. 

View from Washington
Panel One: View from Washington. Left to right: Co-chair Ambassador John D. Negroponte, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia and Ambassador Thomas C. Hubbard 

View from Washington and Business Dialogue
Panel Two: Prospects and Opportunities - Doing Business in the Philippines. Left to right: Special Envoy Jose E. B. Antonio, Jose Ma. Concepcion III, Ebb Hinchliffe, Cielito F. Habito, and Co-chair Manuel V. Pangilinan

In a private sector forum, panelists discussed strategies for more job creation as the Philippines enters a "demographic sweet spot," attracting foreign direct investment at levels comparable to ASEAN neighbors,'  enhancing cooperation on training and student exchanges, joint ventures and commercial opportunities. The Duterte administration's 2017-2022 development plan includes SME development and a focus on electronics, aerospace and airplane parts, IT/BPM, education, automotives, garments and furniture. PPP and Infrastructure Development are potential industries open to American businesses. 

Established global companies in the Philippines expect to remain profitable through the political transitions. The BPO sector is thriving in a pro-business environment. Cost advantages, familiarity with the English language and business practices will continue to attract American companies to the Philippines.


Marking its fifth anniversary, the US-Philippines Society has emerged as a premier non-partisan and bi-national organization committed to strengthening ties in trade, investment, cultural affairs, security, disaster assistance and people-to-people relations . The Society's role remains vital in today's challenging times. 

USPHS Boardmembers, 2017
US-Philippines Society Board 

VIDEO: US-Philippines Society Fifth Anniversary: Bringing the Best of the Philippines to American Audiences  
P&G Reception
From the left, former P&G Philippines General Manager Johnip Cua, P&G Asia Pacific  President Magesvaran Suranjan, Society Co-Chair Amb John D. Negroponte, US Ambassador to the  Philippines  Sung Y. Kim, P&G Philippines General Manager Shankar Viswanathan, and Society  President Amb John F. Maisto

At a February 21 reception, Society Director and P&G's Asia Pacific President Magesvaran Suranjan recognized Ambassador Sung Kim's role in representing the United States in the Philippines at a critical juncture. Procter and Gamble has maintained a strong and growing presence in the Philippines for over 80 years. 

Ambassador Kim has received numerous awards in recognition of his superior service. In his remarks, Ambassador Kim expressed his commitment to work effectively with Philippine government to promote the interests of American businesses like P&G.  

Following President Trump's inauguration on January 20,  Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella congratulated the people of the United States. The Duterte Administration offered to work with President Trump on the basis of mutual respect, mutual benefit, and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law. 

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. attended the inauguration of United States President Donald Trump in Washington D.C.   Read more.

Breakfast with Sec Andanar Jan 2017
US-Philippines Society Breakfast Meeting (l-r): Hank Hendrickson, 
Amb John Maisto, Honorary Consul Henry B. Howard, 
General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Amb John D. Negroponte, 
and Amb Thomas C. Hubbard.  19 January, Washington DC.

 L-R: CDA Patrick A. Chuasoto, Sec Andanar, General Esperon and Deputy Assistant Secretary W. Patrick Murphy toast to enduring ties on the eve of the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
(Photo credit: Philippine Embassy, Washington DC)

Ambassador Thomas C. Hubbard 


Ambassador Thomas C. Hubbard spoke on the Philippines to the International Affairs Council of Washington.
On 27 January and 21 March, Hank Hendrickson met with members of the Asian American Forum and Association of Foreign Service Officers of Maryland and Virginia to address bilateral relations under the Trump and Duterte administrations.  Each event drew over 100 attendees. Discussions focused on trade and security policies.   
Photo credit, US Department of State Foreign Press
Front row (l-r): Tara Yap, Nikko Dizon, Hank Hendrickson, Mia Aznar, and Pia Brago. Back row (l-r): Harley Palangchao, Paterno Esmaquel, JP Soriano, RA Colina, Ron Gagalac, and JC Gotinga. (Photo credit: Foreign Press Center)


An initiative of US State Department's Foreign Press Centers, the 2017 Reporting Tour program invited Philippine journalists to DC.  On 31 January, a t a luncheon meeting, Hank Hendrickson briefed the group on bilateral ties.  

Learn more about the Reporters' Tour

Visit to Rehab Center with Sen Cayetano
A Public Health Policy

Members of the Society's delegation toured a Drug Rehabilitation Center in Taguig on February 23 to better understand public health challenges posed by the Shabu epidemic and to explore ways the Society can assist in areas of education and rehab training. 

The delegation, led by Ambassadors Maisto and Antonio, met with Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and public health directors of the DOH facility.  
(L-R) Hank Hendrickson, Amb. John Maisto, Amb. Roberto R. Romulo and Ernesto D. Garilao 

Ambassador John F. Maisto signed a Memorandum of Agreement, February 22, with Zuellig Family Foundation Chair Roberto Romulo and ZFF President Ernesto Garilao to assist maternal and child health programs in Samar. Funding was made possible through donations from US-Philippine Society supporters and sponsors of a Musical Concert in June 2016 held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC. 
From left, US-Philippines Society Director Henry B. Howard and  Executive Director Hank Hendrickson accept a certificate of recognition from PDRF President Rene Meily, Tacloban, Leyte.


The February 24 visit to Tacloban capped a three-year effort by the US-Philippines Society in partnership with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), led by Directors M.V. Pangilinan and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, to assist victims of Typhoon Haiyan through programs to rebuild schools and housing and to restore livelihoods.

Society Honorary Co-Chair Hank Greenberg has been a major donor to recovery programs, reflecting his longstanding support for building human capacity, promoting development and expanding business opportunities in the Philippines.

pdrf usaid tACLOBAN
Representatives from USAID, local housing agencies, partner organizations and beneficiaries attended the ceremony.