US Philippines Society

  Raising the Philippines' profile in the US

The 23rd APEC Economic Leaders Meeting 
Leaders and Representatives from 21 member economies affirm support for Building Inclusive and Quality Growth 
November 18, 2015, Manila, Philippines. Front row, from left to right: Chile President Michelle Bachelet; Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Brunei Darussalam Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah; Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Tu rnbull; People's Republic of China President Xi Jinping; Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III; Peru President Ollanta Humala; Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang; U.S. President Barack Obama; Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha; and Vincent Siew, special representative of Chinese Taipei.

Second row, from left to right: Hong Kong, China Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying; Indonesia Vice President Jusuf Kalla; Japan Prime Minister Shinzō Abe; Republic of Korea President Park Geun-hye; Malaysia Prime Minister Dato Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak; Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto; New Zealand Prime Minister John Key; Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill; Russian Federation Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev; and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. (Photo credit: APEC Secretariat)
Senior APEC Officials Focus Discussions on Priorities and Goals

Leading to the 23rd APEC Economic Leader's Meeting, the US-Philippines Society sponsored a symposium,  "APEC 2015 Philippines"  o n 30  October  at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.  Aimed to reach an influential Washington audience about the latest developments on Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), speakers identified new and ongoing long term growth strategies, trade liberalization measures and reported on regional economic integration. 2015 host economy, the Philippines, advanced an inclusive and sustainable growth agenda.  

The fo
rum featured senior APEC officials: (l-r) US Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Matthews, APEC SOM Chair Laura Del Rosario, APEC Business Advisory Council Chair Doris Magsaysay Ho. US-PH Society partnered with the Philippine Embassy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on the symposium.

Panelists discussed business and growth, and collaborative efforts between SMEs and global enterprises. L-R: Tami Overby, Monica Whaley, Doris Ho and Deputy Assistant Secretary John Andersen 

Another panel presented business models that align with APEC initiatives on the environment, health, women's empowerment, standards and ethics. (L-R) Kate Clemens, Nick Mallos, Nancy Travis and Senior Deputy Assistant Gloria Steele. Photo Credit: Kaveh Sardari

Ambassador Thomas Hubbard, US-Philippines Society Director, delivers welcome remarks.

Director Henry Howard joins discussion on APEC's environmental agenda.
Dr. Ryan MacFarlance has led the U.S. Delegation at APEC working groups and committee meetings since May 2012.

On October 21, the SAIS Philippines Roundtable, a partnership of US-Philippines Society and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, featured   Dr. Ryan MacFarlane, Principal APEC Coordinator for the U.S. Department of State,  at a roundtable on  "A Preview of US Priorities and Goals in APEC 2015," 

Dr. MacFarlane reported on a newly formed services coalition, emerging digital trade, small business access to the global marketplace, reduction of tariffs on environment-friendly goods, and structural reforms focused on institution-building towards quality and inclusive growth.

   The Order of Sikatuna was conferred upon Ms. Steele for her vital role in the selection of the Philippines in the
 Partnership for Growth program.. 


The US-Philippines Society and SAIS welcomed former USAID Philippine Mission Director Gloria Steele on October 28, as she reported on innovative ways to attain resilient and inclusive growth. Under the Cities Development Initiative, the agency recognized that generating markets in secondary cities promotes growth in surrounding rural areas. It partners with local government, the private sector and civil society to attract high-value industries and promote well-planned urban growth. 


Filipino-American Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) Awardee RJ Diokno joined the APEC SME Summit on 17 November in Manila. The APEC SME Summit focused on empowering invigorated and technology-enabled small, and medium enterprises (SME) to propel broad and sustained economic growth and its increasing role to solve social challenges. 

In the photo, USPHS Honorary Chair Washington Sycip hosted Mr. Diokno and    FYLPRO President  Bea Querido in Manila.

Dr. Florina Capistrano-Baker, Consulting Curator at Ayala Museum, during a lecture held in the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC.

On 14 October in celebration of the Filipino American History Month, the US-Philippines Society in partnership with the Philippine Embassy, sponsored a lecture by Dr. Florina Capistrano-Baker, Consulting Curator at the Ayala Museum. Dr. Baker shared pictures of intricately designed gold artifacts dated to the 10th -13th century, unearthed in the Butuan and Surigao provinces in the Philippines. Indicative of superior craftsmanship and flourishing Southeast Asia trade, these pieces preserve the lost cultures of the Philippines. The gold pieces are on exhibit at the Asia Society in New York City until January 3, 2016 .
USPHS and STAC-SV Collaborate to Support Technology Entrepreneurship

The US-Philippines Society partnered with The Science and Technology Advisory Council - Silicon Valley (STAC-SV), an organization of high tech professionals that provides strategic advisory assistance in the field of science and technology. A  pilot program initiated by Society Co-chair M. V. Pangilinan will bring young entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley to attend workshops and visit high-tech companies to exchange ideas and share best practices.
L-R: US-Philippines Society President Ambassador John Maisto, Deputy Chief of Mission Patrick Chuasoto, Christina Laskowski, President of STAC-SV, Christina Le of the Department of State, US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson, and PH Commercial Counselor Raymond Batac. 

US-Philippines Executive Director Hank Hendrickson and STAC-SV President Christina Laskowski sign the Memorandum of Agreement on November 6, 2015. US-Philippines Society President Ambassador John Maisto and Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. witnessed the signing.
Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., NEDA Deputy Director General Margarita R. Songco, PHC Executive Director Victoria B. Navarro (seated 5th from right), USPHS President John Maisto (seated 4th from right) with PHC member-organizations' representatives

Philippine Economic Development Authority's Deputy Director General Margarita R. Songco, was guest speaker at a forum to mark the Second Anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan on 6 November sponsored by the US-Philippines Society, Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Humanitarian Coalition (PHC), an alliance of Filipino American organizations in the Metro DC region.  
Ms. Songco gave an update on ongoing government projects under the "Build Back Better" concept.   US-Philippines Society President Amb. John Maisto commended PHC and its member-organizations for their  innovative community projects that address rebuilding needs in the aftermath of Haiyan in 2013.

   Nina Solarz paid a courtesy call on Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III on November 6.  P hoto credit: Malacanan Photo Bureau

On November 6-11, Nina Solarz traveled to the Philippines to identify a candidate for the Stephen Solarz Fellowship Program at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. US-Philippines Society Co-chair M.V. Pangilinan facilitated meetings with local hospital administrators and groups to assist in the search. 

The selected candidate will take part in pioneering research in the field of thoracic oncology in support of development of a cancer vaccine. Her husband, the late US Congressman Stephen Solarz, was a friend of the Philippines and remembered for his crucial role in promoting democracy in the Philippines in 1980's. 
L-R Ben Stephan, USPHS Executive Director Hank Hendrickson and Lira Luis 

In support of diversity and inclusive initiatives, US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson joined The DANDI Advisory Council as a judge to identify individuals and organizations for their contributions to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Among the winners at the 13 November awards ceremony at The Times Center in New York City, are the Aspen Institute and Leapfrog Project. Both are partners of the USPHS, a 2014 DANDI Award Winner (Non-Profit Category).  

At the Awards ceremony, Mr. Hendrickson (center) is joined by 2015 DANDI Award Recipients Benjamin Stephan (left) of the Aspen Institute (International Category) and Lira Luis of The Leapfrog Project (Environment and Sustainability Category). Photo credit: Margot Jordan
Philippine Ambassador  to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., at the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC.

At a 10 December year-end presentation, featured speaker Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. described to a capacity audience how strong macroeconomic fundamentals, prudent fiscal management and good governance policies have propelled the Philippines as the most improved business destination in 2015.  Citing the latest  ASEAN Business Outlook Survey, 81   percent of Philippine business owners expect profits to increase in 2016

The Philippines' hosting of 2015 APEC summit is deemed a success.
  • It pushed its agenda of sustainable development and inclusive growth by empowering SME's and structural reforms.
  • The Philippines signed bilateral economic and strategic agreements with APEC member economies. 
  • President Obama reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to maritime security assistance in the region with a two-year aid package of $259 million. $79 million is earmarked for the Philippines. 
  • 10,000 APEC visitors gave a boost to the tourism industry. 
On the South China Sea Arbitration Case, Ambassador Cuisia referred to the concluding remarks of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario on 30 November. Click to view the link Concluding Remarks of Secretary Del Rosario at the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Upon his arrival for the APEC Summit, President Barack Obama, second from right, reaches to shake hands with Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Cuisia Jr., left, as Philippines Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, right, and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg, second from left, watch. Manila, Philippines, Nov. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) 

U.S. President Barack Obama and Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III at the APEC Economic Leaders Welcome Dinner, Manila, Philippines. Nov. 19, 2015. (Photo credit: APEC Secretariat)