US Philippines Society

  Raising the Philippines' profile in the US

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Presidents Trump and Duterte in Bilateral Talks

President Trump and President Duterte
President Donald Trump and President Rodrigo Duterte
U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte met in Manila, Philippines on November 13, 2017 and discussed a broad range of shared interests and priorities. In a joint statement, the leaders noted the enduring United States-Philippines Alliance underpinned by shared values, mutual sacrifice, history, and people-to-people ties. They pledged to expand cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the longstanding bilateral alliance partnership that continues to support regional peace, stability, and prosperity.

2017 ASEAN Summit

Nov 13, 2017, Manila
ASEAN Commemorative Summit on the 40th Anniversary of U.S.-ASEAN relations.

The Heads of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and President Trump gathered in Manila on 13 November 2017 on the occasion of the ASEAN Summit, commemorating the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN-U.S. relations. ASEAN and partner states cooperate on a wide range of regional and transnational issues. T he ASEAN Senior Officials' Meeting, U.S.-ASEAN Consultations, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus, and the East Asia Summit provide essential mechanisms for Indo-Pacific engagement.

ASEAN 50th Anniversary Gala
President Duterte welcomed Heads of State of ASEAN and Dialogue Partners and other world leaders at the ASEAN Gala Dinner, November 12, 2017, Manila.

Henry B. Howard represented the US-Philippines Society at the ASEAN Gala dinner.

U.S. Philippine Bilateral Strategic Dialogue 

US-PH Bilateral Strategic Dialogue
Seventh Bilateral Strategic Dialogue, Nov 30-Dec 1, 2017, Washington, D.C. At the center of the photo are Acting Assistant Secretary Thornton, Undersecretary Manalo and Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State

Senior U.S. and Philippine officials discussed issues of mutual interest and reaffirmed their commitment to collaborate in areas that include maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster response. The delegations engaged in a wide-ranging exchange on bilateral economic issues, including exploration of free trade arrangements under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). 

The Philippine Economic Outlook

BSP Gov Espenilla, Oct 10, 2017
BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr. (center) with Executive Director Hank Hendrickson (left) and CDA Patrick A. Chuasoto, The Philippine Embassy Annex, October 10, 2017, Washington DC.

At an October 10 event in Washington DC, newly-appointed Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. provided a bright forecast of sustained Philippine economic growth underpinned by sound policies, positive investor sentiment and solid domestic demand. He emphasized the importance of financial inclusion in promoting economic development, growth and equity. He pledged to advocate reforms in the domestic debt markets, foreign exchange market, and digitization of the financial system while maintaining stability of prices, low and stable inflation, and a strong banking system.

At an October 31 forum co-sponsored by the US-Philippines Society and the Stimson Center, "A Preview of U.S. and Philippine Priorities for the 2017 ASEAN and East Asia Summits," DAS Patrick Murphy offered insights into the Trump administration's goals for the ASEAN Summits. Philippine Embassy Charge d'affaires Patrick Chuasoto detailed the Philippines' role as host for the 2017 Summit Meetings. Both speakers addressed the multilateral and bilateral U.S.-Philippines agenda, and reaffirmed a commitment to the longstanding, cooperative and historically rooted relationship. A distinguished panel, including Johns Hopkins SAIS Professor William Wise and Ms. Meredith Miller, Vice President at the Albright Stonebridge Group, provided a strategic perspective and discussed what's at stake for high-level economic, trade and investment talks in Manila.  Read more. 

US-Philippines Society President Ambassador John F. Maisto (left) with panelists (l-r) State Department Official Richard Blackwood, SAIS Professor William Wise, CDA Patrick Chuasoto, ASG Vice-President Meredith Miller, and Stimson Center Director for Southeast Asia Program Brian Eyler, October 31, 2017, Stimson Center, Washington DC


A November 3 roundtable seminar on the Marawi Crisis addressed factors leading to initial militant success, cited additional examples of recent ISIS-inspired activities in the southern Philippines, parallels with ISIS operations in the Middle East, and the daunting economic, psycho-social, and security challenges ahead. 
JHU SAIS Professor William Wise moderated the seminar that included perspectives from  Aleem Siddiqui Guiapal, Executive Director of the ARMM Regional Economic Zone in Muslim Mindanao and  a senior former US Army officer who served in the Joint Special Operations Task Force, and the head of an NGO with extensive operations in Mindanao. 

The seminar was co-sponsored by the US-Philippines Society, Stimson Center, and the Philippines Roundtable. Read more.

Marawi What's Next
Aleem Guiapal and Prof William Wise, November 3, 2017, Washington, D.C.


In true bayanihan spirit (Filipino sense of community), the Filipino Diaspora undertook fundraising efforts to aid in the rebuilding and recovery of the City of Marawi. Through the US-Philippines Society, the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA), the Philippine Humanitarian Coalition (PHC) and individuals contributed more than $11,000 to fund projects in Marawi. 

At an October 8 fundraising event in Washington DC, former Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. described the Philippine government's plan to pursue a comprehensive and multi-sectoral approach in addressing the physical needs and well-being of the estimated 400,000 internally displaced persons from Marawi. Recovery programs include psycho-social treatment, peace-promotion, restoration of health services and livelihood activities, and infrastructure redevelopment. 

The Society's implementing partner, the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), is a lead organization in a private consortium "United For Marawi" that was launched at a summit in Manila last November. The consortium aims to complement the Philippine government's post-Marawi peace building and recovery efforts. Government officials led by Defense Secretary Lorenzana, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and Task Force Bangon Marawi Chair Eduardo del Rosario took part in the panel discussion. 

Amb Cuisia presents the Ambassador's Cup
The Philippine Nurses Association of America cited for their contribution.  Pictured with former Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. are Madelyn Yu, Carol Robles and Victoria Navarro. October 8, 2017, Metro DC.
US-Philippines Society Director Henry B. Howard and PDRF President Rene Meily attend the launch of "United For Marawi," a consortium of civil society and private organizations.  
Nov 20, 2017, Makati.

The US-Philippines Society organized an October 9 breakfast roundtable at the Mansfield Foundation featuring former Ambassador and Society Director Jose L. Cuisia Jr. Presentation provided a private sector perspective on current Philippine political issues, crime reduction and citizen security, economic advances, prospects for new bilateral and multilateral trade arrangements, and US-Philippine security cooperation.  
Left-right: Professor William Wise (moderator), Ambassador Cuisia, Ambassador Negroponte, Ambassador Maisto, Hank Hendrickson, Trivedi Atman, Greg Rushford, and Vikram Nehru. October 9, 2017.   The Mansfield Foundation, Washington, D.C. 

Secretary Raul L. Lambino discussed the proposed Philippine federalism model at a forum organized by the Philippine Embassy and the US-Philippines Society on 8 November 2017. An advocate of a shift to federalism, Secretary Lambino cited the advantages of a more transparent and accountable political system that would aim to promote a more equitable distribution of resources to 11 regional states under a federal arrangement. He explained that the federal government would retain authority over defense, national security, foreign policy, monetary policy, customs and national taxation, and international trade, while states would assume responsibility over regional development and provision of basic constituent services. 

Secretary Lambino said that federalism can also promote peace and regional development through autonomy arrangements in Mindanao.

Secretary Raul L. Lambino
Secretary Lambino and Forum Moderator Hank Hendrickson


US-Philippines Society leaders extended personal congratulations and greetings during a December 1 meeting with Ambassador Romualdez. The US-Philippines Society welcomed the opportunity to work closely with the Ambassador in carrying out the Society's mission in the United States. 

"With his extensive experience in global affairs, familiarity with the United States diplomatic circles, deep knowledge of Philippine domestic politics, media, business, governance and security matters, Ambassador Romualdez is exceedingly well-prepared to represent the Philippines," noted Ambassador John F. Maisto.

Amb Romualdez and USPHS
L-R, Executive Director Hank Hendrickson, Founding Director Thomas C. Hubbard, H.E. Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez, Co-chair John D. Negroponte, and President Ambassador John F. Maisto, Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Washington, D.C., 1 December 2017
L-R: Ambassador Maisto, Ambassador Romualdez, Honorary Consul Henry B. Howard and Director Roberto Llames, December 8 reception, Washington, D.C.


Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez delivered a comprehensive year-end report on developments during the first full year of the Duterte Administration on 18 December 2017 at the Philippine Embassy's Romulo Hall, co-sponsored by the US-Philippines Society. Philippine economic expansion remained robust at 6.9 % in the third quarter driven by the administration's fast track structural reforms that include the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, Build Build Build infrastructure development agenda and liberalization of the investment markets. Ambassador Romualdez noted the recent successful Philippine chairmanship of ASEAN's Golden anniversary and reaffirmation of US-Philippine longstanding cooperative ties following the November visit of President Trump. Read more

2017 Year end Briefing
Ambassador to the Philippines Jose Manuel G. Romualdez

2017 PH in Review
Left to right: Co-chair Ambassador John D. Negroponte, DCM Patrick A. Chuasoto, DAS Patrick Murphy and Economic Minister Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga 


During the holidays, Filipino Americans decorate their homes with festive parols. Like traditional Christmas trees, the parol, a star-shaped lantern, symbolizes the coming of Christmas. It is also associated with the Philippine Simbang Gabi, a series of nine-day masses held at local churches. The service is often followed by a community gathering and communal dining featuring traditional Christmas-time Filipino cuisine. 

The Philippine Parol adorns the US-Philippines Society office window.