Raising Awareness of Today's Philippines in the U.S.



A new decade of enriching PH and US ties
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Capping a year of intense and productive bilateral activity, the United States and the Philippines reached key government-private sector partnership agreements that will lead to improved Philippine competitiveness in the semiconductor supply chain, address energy security, enhance digital connectivity, and advance affordable health. President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. who was participating in the APEC Leaders’ Summit witnessed private sector and government MOU signings, including between Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Bilateral cooperation was reinforced through implementation of joint PH-USAID development projects. New partnerships include the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Alliance to improve the PH workforce global competitiveness and the URBAN Connect Project to help fast track economic development and delivery of essential public services covering health and education, climate resilience and disaster readiness, gender equality and inclusiveness in nine cities outside Metro Manila.

At COP28, USAID and the Philippine government cooperated in supporting the Philippines clean energy future that includes a mix of solar and wind, nuclear, and other emerging technologies, along with the necessary technical skills and capacity building. Preceding the summit, PH DENR and the U.S. EPA agreed to collaborate to address climate and environmental challenges, strengthen compliance and enforcement of environmental laws.

In his year-end report, Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez cited trade reports stating that US investment inflows into the Philippines tripled in 2023 to over $763 million from $250.39 million in 2022. He anticipates a 2024 presidential trade and investment delegation led by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will explore additional investment opportunities in key industries, including clean energy, green metals, agriculture, infrastructure, logistics, and telecommunications.

Ambassador Romualdez asserted that the U.S.-PH defense relationship remains “solid and stable.” EDCA sites and projects were expanded including the launch of an upgraded 2.8 km BASA Air Base runway. Conduct of bilateral maritime and aerial patrols and multilateral training exercises in 2023 enhanced maritime law enforcement capabilities and maritime interoperability, coordinated response in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and promoted mutual understanding. Responding to Chinese Coast Guard interference with Philippine resupply missions to Second Thomas Shoal and fishing vessels access near Scarborough Shoal, the U.S. along with other nations expressed support for the July 2016 International Arbitration Ruling and UNCLOS principles. The U.S. reaffirmed its commitment to defend its ally under the Mutual Defense Treaty. President Joe Biden stated during an October 25 press conference, "I want to be very clear: The United States’ defense commitment to the Philippines is ironclad.” 


Major Multilateral Summits and US-PH Bilateral Cooperation

Highlights of US Host Year APEC 2023

US-Philippine Economic and Security Meetings at margins of APEC Summit

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework For Prosperity Negotiations

US-PH Security Cooperation in the West PH Sea

PH as an Archipelagic State

COP28: US-PH Cooperation and Strategies to Combat Climate Change

USAID BARMM Health: Empowering communities

Book Launch: Bounden Duty


Video: APEC Milestones by Amb Matthew Murray

Video: URC at BARMM Health

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Photo: U.S. Senior Official for APEC Matthew Murray at the December 1 APEC Recap program co-hosted by the US-Philippines Society and the Philippine Embassy Washington DC.

The Biden administration welcomed the opportunity to host and lead in advancing economic multilateralism within APEC, representing 21 economies, home of 3 billion people, and almost half of global trade and more than 60 percent of the world’s GDP. Along with the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, hosting APEC 2023 was a major economic component in the current administration’s overall Indo-Pacific strategy. At a December 1 APEC recap forum in Washington DC, U.S. Senior Official for APEC Matthew Murray stressed the U.S. long term commitment over 30 years in the region. At the sidelines of the summit, the U.S. and the Philippines signed important agreements including civil nuclear cooperation and semiconductor supply chain partnership. Read more

Photo above: l-r: Moderator Executive Director Hank Hendrickson, USPH Society Co-Chair Amb John D. Negroponte, Ambassador Matthew Murray, Ambassador Thomas Hubbard, DCM Jaime Ascalon, USPH Society President Amb John F. Maisto, State Department PH Desk Officers Daniel Rakove and Esther Joe. Philippine Embassy Washington DC, December 1, 2023

U.S.-PH Economic and Security Meetings at APEC

November 15, on the sidelines of the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit in San Francisco, the U.S. and the Philippines entered into major agreements between governments and the private sector to boost economic partnerships and security commitments. Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. led the Philippine delegation during these meetings.

Ayala Corporation Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and AC Health President Paolo Borromeo signed a memorandum of agreement with Varian Philippines President Heinz-Michael Horst Schmermer and Advanced Oncology Solutions Varian Vice President Chuck Lindley, to establish and efficiently manage a dedicated specialty oncology hospital ensuring delivery of quality healthcare that is accessible and affordable to Filipinos. On November 24, the Health Care Cancer Hospital that offers comprehensive cancer care services was inaugurated under a government-private sector partnership. Read More

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity Negotiations

President Joe Biden and President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and 12 other leaders under IPEF gathered for the successful conclusion of negotiations on three (Clean Economy, Fair Economy and Supply Chain) of the four pillars under IPEF. Since its launch in May 2022, IPEF partners held various consultations and listening sessions between government, non-government and other stakeholders.

PH Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Marie Raimondo committed to joint efforts to expand trade and investment opportunities in key sectors including clean energy, critical minerals and food security and other areas through the U.S. Presidential Trade and Investment Mission and the 2024 Indo-Pacific Business Forum. Read more

Indo-Pacific Business Priorities

Nov 8, Executive Director Hank Hendrickson met with U.S. Trade Representatives Anne Marie Brooks, Elliot Brewer, and John Owens to exchange views on U.S.- Philippines economic priorities.


Photo: L-R, AFP Gen Romeo Brawner, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and USINDOPACOM Commander John C. Aquilino, Honolulu, HI.

November 17-19, At the invitation of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. along with Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, visited U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Camp H.M. Smith. The President was briefed by Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of USINDOPACOM, with an operational overview, followed by a candid exchange with military officers on regional developments and security cooperation. Read more

An Exhibit on the PH as an Archipelagic State

Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez welcomed representatives from Washington policy institutes, members of the diplomatic corps, the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense, and the US-Philippines Society at the exhibit, "Archipelagic States: Identity, Consciousness and Law.” The exhibit consists of an Archipelagic States mural that traces the legal status of an archipelago from the 1920’s along with several photographs illustrating interconnectivity of the sea to everyday lives of Filipinos.

Asia Maritime Transparency Institute Director Greg Poling described how the Philippines successfully advocated for the Archipelagic Principle, “an important concept that unites land, water, and people into a single legal entity, in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).” While the Philippines is an archipelagic state as a matter of geography, it took decades of hard work to ensure that the Archipelagic Principle was recognized in law. 

Read more


The December 12 program, “COP28: Climate Challenges and Opportunities in the Philippines,” addressed 1) Philippine equities at the Climate Conference and key-takeaways, 2) USAID participation at COP28 and engagement with the Philippines, and 3) an on-the-ground view of climate impact and mitigation efforts in the Philippines. Headliners included Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga and USAID Assistant Administrator for Asia Michael Schiffer. Read more

Top row: Keynote speakers DENR Secretary Ma Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga and USAID AA for Asia Michael Schiffer, Moderator USPHS Executive Director Hank Hendrickson. Second row: Stimson Center Southeast Asia Program Director and moderator Brian Eyler, Co-Author of CORVI Tracy Rouleau, and PDRF President Rene Meily. Dagupan City Mayor Belen Fernandez also participated as discussant. COP28: Climate Challenges and Opportunities in the Philippines, 12 December 2023.

USAID BARMM Health: Empowering Communities

URC President Earl Gast attends closing ceremony of BARMMHealth Project

USAID BARMMHealth (2019-2023), implemented by URC, recently held its end-of-project event with a ceremony highlighting the strong collaboration of local government, civil society and stakeholders in improving access to quality family planning, maternal and child health, and adolescent sexual/reproductive health services for the most vulnerable sectors in the Bangsamoro communities. URC President and US-Philippines Society Director Earl Gast participated in the event. Under the project, URC worked with the Ministry of Health – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM) and other partners who committed to sustain the gains beyond the project.

URC is implementing other USAID-funded projects focusing on TB burden reduction and community-based drug rehabilitation. In November 2023, the Philippine Department of Health Center for Health Development recognized the contributions of USAID’s TB Platforms in realizing the vision of Universal Health Coverage in the Calabarzon region. Photo by URC


Photo: Author Kate Baker discusses the newly published book "Bounden Duty" at the Philippine Embassy Washington DC, October 24.

Published in late October 2023, the book “Bounden Duty: Wars, Schools, and Empire in the Philippines,” chronicles the struggles and triumphs of American educators, collectively known as “The Thomasites” who ventured on a historic voyage in 1901 from San Francisco to educate and build schools across the Philippine archipelago. Author Kate Baker shared excerpts from letters of Price Cooper, a Thomasite, revealing dedication to the cause of education in spite of hardships, diseases and, even death.

Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez thanked Kate Baker during the October 24 launching of Bounden Duty held at the Philippine Embassy Washington DC, co-hosted by Sentro Rizal and the US-Philippines Society in celebration of the Filipino American History Month.

Executive Director Hank Hendrickson recalled the important role played by the Thomasites in U.S. foreign policy from dealing with the repercussions of the Philippine-American War and to progress in the bilateral relationship and building people-to-people ties. These early American educators represented first steps in the promotion of U.S. educational exchange opportunities and were in many ways a forerunner of the Peace Corps established in the mid-20th century.

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