East-West Center Celebrates 75 Years of US-Philippines Relations with Premier Philippines Matters for America Publication

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WASHINGTON, DC AND MANILA, PHILIPPINES (June 21, 2022) – In celebration of 75 years of US-Philippine Relations, the East-West Center launched the premier Philippines Matters for America/America Matters for the Philippines publication and website on June 13 in Washington, DC at the Philippines Embassy and June 15 in Manila, Philippines at the US Embassy in Manila. These events coincided with the 124th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence.

At the Philippines Embassy in Washington, DC, the event began with the singing of the Philippines and the United States national anthems and remarks from Philippines Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Jose Manuel G. Romualdez. Additionally, Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, Heather Variava at the Embassy of the US in the Philippines gave video remarks and the President of the East-West Center, Suzanne Puanani Vares-Lum, gave a presentation on the importance of the publication.

Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez gives a speech at the Philippines Matters for America launch at the Philippines Embassy in Washington, DC on June 13, 2022.
Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez gives a speech at the Philippines Matters for America launch at the Philippines Embassy in Washington, DC on June 13, 2022.

During the launch in Washington, DC, Philippines Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Jose Manuel G. Romualdez said: "There is no doubt that the Philippines matters for the United States and the United States matters for the Philippines. As President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. told Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman when they met in Manila recently, the Philippines’ partnership with the United States 'is not just a memory but a part of us'. This is true not only in terms of our government-to-government relations but in the close ties between our two peoples.  This publication best encapsulates the result of 75 long years of partnership in many areas such as political and security, economic, and people-to-people ties... Our relationship has definitely stood the test of time and remains relevant amidst new and emerging challenges."

East-West Center President Suzanne Puanani Vares-Lum stated that “Indeed, the Philippines matters for America and America matters for the Philippines, and it is clear in the statistics on trade, investment, employment, business, diplomacy, security, education, and tourism. These figures paint a picture of the positive impact of the US-Philippine relationship, but the power and inspiration is in the strong people-to-people connections and relationships woven together by a shared history and commitment to democracy. So grateful for the Embassy of the Philippines and the US Embassy Manila for partnering on this publication and work.”

EWC President Suzanne Vares-Lum gives a presentation at the Philippines Matters for America launch at the Philippines Embassy in Washington, DC on June 13, 2022.
EWC President Suzanne Vares-Lum gives a presentation at the Philippines Matters for America launch at the Philippines Embassy in Washington, DC on June 13, 2022.

The launch of the publication at the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines, featured in-person remarks from the Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim Heather Variava of the Embassy of the US in the Philippines, and Assistant Secretary Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga. Additionally, the program included virtual remarks from East-West Center Vice President, Satu Limaye, and Philippines Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Jose Manuel G. Romualdez.

“Although the challenges are different than they were 75 years ago, our countries are still working side by side,” US Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava said. “We firmly stand united with the Philippines and as we mark the culmination of the 75th anniversary of our diplomatic relationship, the story of our cooperation as friends, partners, and allies makes us extremely proud.” 

US Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava is joined in the EWC publication’s Manila launch by Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga and Department of Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna.
US Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava is joined in the EWC publication’s Manila launch by Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga and Department of Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna.

East-West Center Vice President Satu Limaye remarked, “I am so pleased to be able [to] mark 75 years of the US-Philippines relationship with this commemorative publication which shows the range and depth of our two countries’ connections and cooperation. Thank you to both the US Embassy in Manila and the Embassy of the Philippines for their support and assistance in creating this publication and associated website.”

These events brought together United States and Philippines government officials, the private sector, and regional experts to celebrate the partnership between the United States and the Philippines.

The inaugural edition of The Philippines Matters for America/America Matters for the Philippines brings to light important facts and figures, including:

  • The United States and the Philippines became formal allies 70 years ago with the signing of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty. It is the United States' oldest alliance in Asia.
  • Bilateral trade between the United States and the Philippines is valued at $25 billion.
  • Filipino Americans are the 3rd largest Asian ethnic group in the United States, following Chinese and Indian Americans.
  • Nearly 66% of Filipino Americans serving in public office in the United States reside in California.
  • Hawai‘i and California share the majority of sister connections with the Philippines.
  • During the 2019-2020 academic year, more than 3,200 international students from the Philippines studied abroad in the United States. Around 300 American students studied abroad in the Philippines.
  • Over the last 20 years, US development aid to the Philippines has tripled.
  • California, Washington, and Texas have the largest number of jobs supported by exports to the Philippines.

Produced by the East-West Center with support from the US Embassy in the Philippines, the publication and accompanying data visualizations highlight the deep historical and contemporary significance of the relationship between the United States and the Philippines, featuring analysis of economic, diplomatic, and cultural ties at the national, state, and local levels. The publication can also be found on the Asia Matters for America website.