US Philippines Society

  Raising Awareness of Today's Philippines in the US

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Sincerest appreciation for your support through 2019. All best wishes for a Happy New Year!

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana met in Manila on November 19, 2019 to discuss a broad range of shared security interests and priorities. In a joint statement, both Secretaries pledged to expand cooperation and strengthen the bilateral alliance, a 70-year partnership that ensures both countries' mutual security and contributes to peace, stability, and economic opportunity throughout the region. Both Secretaries reiterated the Mutual Defense Treaty's applicability to the "entire Pacific region," including the South China Sea.

Consistent with the Defense Department's Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, Secretary Esper reiterated the Indo-Pacific region's significance as a priority theater during a December 7, 2019 Ronald Reagan Defense Forum. U.S. engagement in the region is rooted on long-standing security alliances and expanded partnerships that are indispensable to peace and security in the region.

US-Philippines Society Co-chair Ambassador Negroponte addressed the  annual Global Conference of Heads of Diplomatic Missions hosted by Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.  in Manila, October 7. Amb Negroponte's presentation included a strategic perspective on trends throughout the Indo-Pacific region and America's policy directions and commitments. 

Ambassador John D. Negroponte is a senior United States career diplomat and national security official, who held government positions abroad and in Washington between 1960 and 1997, including as U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, and from 2001 to 2008.  His most recent position in government was as Deputy Secretary of State.  He also held a cabinet level position as the first Director of National Intelligence under President George W. Bush. 

Ambassador Negroponte and Co--chair Manuel V. Pangilinan have led the US-Philippines Society since its founding in May 2012. Both actively participate in top-level policy and trade discussions in the United States, the Philippines, and other international venues.

Amb John Negroponte
US-Philippines Society Co-chair Ambassador John D. Negroponte addresses members of the Philippine diplomatic corps in Makati, Philippines. Photo credit: Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs

Amb John Negropnte Lorenzana
L-R: Ambassador John Negroponte, Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and PH Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana
Secretary Locsin
Ambassador Negroponte, Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. and Ambassador Sta. Romana
Amb John Negroponte: Recipient of 2019 Annenberg Award for Excellence in Diplomacy

The US-Philippines Society congratulates Co-chair Ambassador John D. Negroponte as the Recipient of the 2019 Walter and Leonore Annenberg Award for Excellence in Diplomacy. The award comes in recognition of his exemplary contributions to the field of American diplomacy. Upon the recommendation of the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Award was presented to Amb Negroponte at the Academy's Thirtieth  Annual Diplomatic Awards Luncheon on November 12 at the State Department, Washington D.C. 

Ambassador Negroponte Annenberg Award
US-Philippines Society Co-chair Amb John D. Negroponte with wife, Diana, State Department, Washington, D.C.

75th anniversary MacArthur's Landing
L-R: VA Beach Mayor Robert Dyer, Dr. Rodrigo Romulo, Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander and Hank Hendrickson
75th Anniversary of Leyte Landing 

The Society commemorated the 75th anniversary of the pivotal WWII Leyte Landing during a program at Norfolk's MacArthur Memorial on October 20, 2019. The Landing marked the return of allied forces to the Philippines as part of the largest naval engagement of the war. Guest speakers including Director Christopher Kolakowski, Consul Gen Renato Pedro Villa, Executive Director Hank Hendrickson and Dr. Rodrigo Romulo provided historical perspectives. Virginia Beach Mayor Robert Dyer and Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander also made remarks and recognized contributions by the Filipino American communities of Virginia. Read more 
Istorya DC
Philippine Embassy Consul General Renato Pedro Villa
Celebration of Filipino-American History Month in October

In Washington DC, the US-Philippines Society joined Sentro Rizal Washington DC of the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, the Rita M. Cacas Foundation, and the Philippines on the Potomac Project in an October 22, 2019 joint celebration marking the 75th anniversary of the Leyte Landing and Filipino American History and Archives Month.  The occasion served to highlight the enduring US-PH relationship. 
Capt Brian Buzzell
Amb Jose Manuel Romualdez and US Navy Capt Brian Buzzell
Veterans Day Diplomatic Outreach 

USPHS member US Navy Capt Brian Buzzell (ret) hosted Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez and local Filipinos and families in a reception in Delavan Lake, WI. In observance of Veterans Day on Nov 11, Amb Romualdez was also a featured speaker at the local high school where he was warmly received. Together, Capt Buzzell and Amb Romualdez then attended a traditional ceremony at American Legion Post 95. The Ambassador thanked Legion members, including Capt Buzzell, for their support in the return of the Balangiga Bells to the Philippines in December 2018. 
Unveiling of the Manchu Bell in Fort Carson  

A replica of one of the three Bells of Balangiga was unveiled at Fort Carson, Colorado during a November 20 ceremony. US-Philippines Society director Henry B. Howard, who was instrumental in the Bells' return, attended the dedication ceremony at the invitation of General (ret) Vincent K. Brooks, a former commander of 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry (Manchu) Regiment. Gen Brooks, a career Army officer who retired from active duty in January 2019 as the four-star general in command of all U.S. Forces in Korea and the United Nations Command, described the presentation as an excellent resolution. Presentation of the replica bell was meant as a gesture of enduring friendship and alliance between the United States and the Philippines.

Manchu bell
General (ret) Vincent K. Brooks (left), US-Philippines Society director Henry B. Howard (right) and Fort Carson army personnel with the replica of the "Manchu" Bell in Fort Carson, Colorado, November 20, 2019
Camiguin Bell
Uncrating and blessing of a U.S. bell upon arrival in San Nicolas de Tolentino Church
A Bell for Camiguin Church

As a sign of friendship from the United States, a church bell made in the year 1848 was donated by US-Philippines Society director Henry B. Howard to the parish of San Nicolas de Tolentino Church in Mambajao, Camiguin, Philippines. 

The gift was made possible with logistical support by Mr. Jaime Bautista formerly of PAL ; Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana and  Messrs. Enrico Cabaraban and Alfredo Yee of the Philippine Eagles  for transporting the bell to Camiguin.

RTVM Nov 2019
Hon Consul Henry B. Howard and President Duterte
A Courtesy Call on Malacanang

On November 6, President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed and thanked US-Philippines Society Director Henry B. Howard for the visit during a courtesy call in MalacaƱang. Dr. Howard is t he Philippine honorary consul for the state of Florida.

Photo credit: RTVM
L-R: Former FSO Malcolm Churchill, USPHS Pres Amb John F. Maisto, Cebu Consul Dan Sullivan, Margaret Sulivan, Maria Consuelo Maisto, Gay Sullivan, former FSO Michael Anderson and Executive Director Hank Hendrickson
A Historical Perspective: Building U.S. Diplomatic Relations

Reflecting on the challenges and rewards of diplomatic work spanning three decades, "Fragments from a Mobile Life" author Margaret Sullivan shared a unique perspective on American  public diplomacy with emerging democracies including the Philippines and Indonesia. Her Oct 23 presentation, co-sponsored by the USPHS and USINDO, touched on Malay cultural aspects, the importance of understanding expanded family networks, American perspectives on Filipino consciousness and identity, and the complex historical relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines. Read more
In-depth Discussion on Bilateral Relations with PH Reporters

A select group of Filipino journalists conducted a reporting tour program in Washington DC organized by the Philippine Embassy as a platform for candid engagement with US government, private sector, policy institutes and non-profit organizations. At a roundtable discussion with reporters on November 7, USPHS President Amb John F. Maisto discussed the challenges posed by constitutional limits on foreign ownership in the Philippines and stiff competition within the ASEAN region.  To lure American investors, Philippines could offer aggressive tax incentives combined with top-level business trade missions and outreach. Other factors including the Philippine economic growth factor, dependability of the Philippine workforce and English language advantages are major investment considerations for American companies. As a testament to effective reforms, the country recently improved its ranking in ease of doing business index issued by the World Bank in October.
Philippine Reporters
L-R: Willard Cheng (ABS-CBN), Lawrence Agcaoili (Philippine Star), Bing Parel (People Asia), Hank Hendrickson, Amb John F. Maisto, Michaela Del Callar (GMA News), Dale  de Vera (TV5), and Recto Mercene (Business Mirror)
USPHS Directors
L-R: Hank Hendrickson, Amb John F. Maisto, BSP Gov Benjamin Diokno, Honorary Consul Henry B. Howard and Amb Thomas C. Hubbard
Economic Outlook by Central Bank Governor

At an October 16 forum co-organized by the US-Philippines Society and the Philippine Embassy, Central Bank (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno shared his unique perspective on regional and global developments, along with his optimistic outlook on the Philippine economy, citing  Philippine resilience in the face of global uncertainties. The BSP is committed to sound macro-economic policies and reform measures, and support for a stable banking system, building on more than a quarter century of positive economic growth. Read more


The US-Philippines Society with the support of director Henry B. Howard and the Sentro Rizal Washington DC opened an exhibition featuring the works of award-winning Filipina-Spanish artist Maria Mari Murga and Mindanao craft makers on November 15, 2019 at the Philippine Embassy Chancery Annex. Murga's project titled "Liwanag: A journey through the Philippines way of life" showcases a collection of eleven paintings and drawings inspired by her interaction with indigenous peoples in southern Mindanao and rural communities in Luzon. Murga pays homage to her Filipino heritage depicting Philippine originality, humanity and dignity through art. Read more

Liwanag Exhibit
Liwanag Exhibition featuring art work of Maria Murga and Mindanao craft makers


A special viewing and lecture on the Doctrina Christiana in Spanish, Tagalog, and Baybayin Script, a rare manuscript and an important part of the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection of the United States Library of Congress, took place at the Whittall Pavilion in Washington, D.C. co-organized by the Philippine Embassy, Principalia sa Bulalacao and the US-Philippines Society on October 28, 2019.

The presentation of the Doctrina Christiana was a uniquely informative event. The famed document stands as a rare example of 16th century innovations in print technology, fully deserving a place in the Library's rare books collection. The Doctrina provides insights into the introduction of basic Christian texts in the Philippines. The script also confirms widespread use of the written word during the pre-Hispanic period. Read more

Doctrina Christiana
Doctrina Christiana in Spanish, Tagalog and Baybayin Script dated 1593