US-Phl Society launched in Washington

Sunday / June 10, 2012




Manila, Philippines -  The United States-Philippines Society, launched last Thursday (Friday in Manila) in Washington, is aimed at encouraging the rich and long-standing ties between the two nations and help bring that unique relationship fully into the 21st century.
Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), said they hope to transform the long-standing relationship between the Philippines and the US into a profitable one.
“Ours is a practical initiative – achieve rewarding commercial ties, regional geopolitical support, and good governance – an issue which our President and our business community feel strongly about,” Pangilinan said in his remarks at the launch.
“The Society’s role must be to convey to our American counterparts Asia’s evolving perspectives – China’s in particular – as faithfully and as accurately as we can,” he added.
Pangilinan, co-chairman of the Society’s board, cited the bilateral trade between the US and the Philippines that began in May 1797 when the American vessel Astrea made the return voyage from Manila to Salem, Massachusetts with a shipment of sugar, pepper, and tea.
The Society hosted a luncheon for President Aquino, who served as the guest of honor during the launch.
Guests were composed of corporate executives, high-level US government officials, and leaders of the Filipino-American community.
Registered as a non-profit organization in Washington, the newly-formed Society is a private sector initiative designed to encourage economic ties, promote trade and investment, support bilateral strategic and political goals, strengthen cultural, technological, tourism, and people-to-people linkages, especially educational and academic exchanges.

In his remarks, Aquino said the creation of the Society is long overdue, considering the deep-rooted ties between the two countries.
He cited the gains that have been made in his administration resulting from his good governance agenda, including record highs in the stock market and several credit rating upgrades.
Also during the program, Senator Richard Lugar, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, was conferred the Order of Lakandula, Rank of Supremo (Grand Collar) by Aquino for his “significant contributions to the enhancement of Philippines-US Alliance and Friendship.”
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Roberto Romulo said a mechanism is needed to maintain a sustained outreach program in the US, specifically designed to build up the bilateral Philippine-American partnership.
The Society’s board is co-chaired by John Negroponte, former US ambassador to the Philippines, while president is Ambassador John Maisto and executive director is Hank Henrikson.
Honorary chairs are Washington Sycip and Maurice Greenberg.
The other founding Board members are Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (Ayala), Roberto Romulo, Thomas Hubbard (McLarty Associates), Robert McDonald, Melody Meyer (Chevron), lawyer Cirilo Noel, Enrique Razon Jr. (ICTSI), Aurelio Montinola III (BPI), Dennis Wright (Peregrine), Jay Collins (Citigroup) and Teresita Sy-Coson (SM Investments).



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