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Strengthening people-to-people ties |


Strengthening people-to-people ties

THIS WEEK ON PEOPLEASIA - Babe Romualdez - The Philippine Star
Strengthening people-to-people ties
With Paul Dominguez, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Every February, the US-Philippines Society (USPS) holds its annual board directors’ meeting in the Philippines. Founded in 2012, the non-profit group with Ambassador John Negroponte and Manny Pangilinan as co-chairmen has diplomats as well as top businessmen from both the United States and the Philippines for its members. 

Aside from elevating the profile of the Philippines among US businessmen, a core mission of the group is to strengthen the people-to-people ties between Filipinos and Americans.

I hosted a cocktail reception for USPS members that include Ambassadors Tom Hubbard and John Maisto, executive director Hank Hendrickson, and director Henry Howard, who is also the Philippine Honorary Consul for Florida. Among the business personalities present were Ricky Razon, Doris Magsaysay-Ho, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Martin Tuason of Armscor, Alfredo Yee, Philippine Airlines’ Gilbert Sta. Maria, and Gerry Borromeo, among many others.

Also in attendance were government officials Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. Also present were Senators Grace Poe, Francis Tolentino and Sherwin Gatchalian, as well as Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.  

We were also joined by US Embassy officials led by Ambassador Sung Kim, Deputy Chief of Mission John Law, Political Counselor David Whiting, Commercial Counselor Greg O’Connor and Defense Attaché Col. Steve Ma.

The night also served as an opportunity to express my thanks to Ambassador Kim — with whom I have had a great working relationship — for all the support and good work he has done in furthering the relationship between our two nations.

Totally devoid of politics, the organization has played — and continues to play — an important role in fostering cooperation between the US and the Philippines. This was evident during the presentation of the 2020 Carlos P. Romulo award by Ambassador Negroponte and USPS executive director Hank Hendrickson to the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation for its continuing partnership with USPS and for its role as the leading private sector coordinator for disaster management in the Philippines.

The group has been a reliable and effective vehicle in channeling donor support for victims of calamities and disasters such as the onslaught of Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, the siege of Marawi City in May 2017,  and most recently, the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas. On hand to receive the award were PDRF’s Rene “Butch” Meily and Doris Magsaysay-Ho.


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