A Conversation on: US-Philippines Relations
Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr.


Washington, DC—On December 2, 2013, Ambassador Jose Cuisia of the Philippines hosted an Embassy Series event on US–Philippines relations. Ambassador Cuisia spoke to WFPG members and guests about the impact of Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines’ economic and political progress, and US–Philippines cooperation. The event was moderated by WFPG President Patricia Ellis and included a performance by Filipino-American pianist Kim Barroso.

Ambassador Cuisia discussed the devastating aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, the deadliest typhoon to hit the Philippines in recent history. Over 14 million people were affected by the disaster, with millions displaced and thousands killed. The Ambassadorexplained that in addition to this tragic human toll, the storm destroyed houses, schools, roads, bridges, and farms, with initial damage estimates totaling over half a billion dollars. Ambassador Cuisia expressed his great appreciation for the disaster relief aid from the international community, noting that the US has been at the forefront of relief efforts. The greatest challenge for the country will be long-term reconstruction and recovery, especially in terms of employment since the storm decimated the Philippines’ fishing, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors. The Ambassador said that the government is working to limit the damage of future natural disasters by increasing preparedness. Possible reforms include the implementation of mandatory rather than optional evacuation warnings, as well as the establishment of stricter building codes.

The Ambassador stated that, despite the tragic consequences of the typhoon, the Philippines has made significant economic and political progress. He applauded President Benigno Aquino’s reform agenda, which has focused on enforcing rule of law, improving public services, investing in infrastructure, and encouraging private-sector investment. These reforms have spurred economic development, making the Philippines’ economy the fastest growing in Southeast Asia. The Ambassador also discussed the government’s efforts to reduce poverty, such as increased investment in social welfare, health, and education services.

Ambassador Cuisia highlighted the renewed importance of a strong US–Philippines relationship, especially in light of the US’s strategic rebalance toward Asia. He stated that US–Philippines relations are on “a very positive trajectory,” and praised the countries’ cooperation on economic and security issues. He cited joint counterterrorism, nonproliferation, and counter-piracy initiatives as examples of successful cooperation between the two nations. The Ambassador also spoke about the importance of US–Philippines cooperation in light of China’s “aggressive actions” in the South China Sea, and praised US support for the Philippines’ pursuit of third party arbitration of the territorial dispute.


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WFPG President Patricia Ellis, Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr.
and WFPG Board Member Diana Villiers Negroponte


Ambassador Jose Cuisia and Patricia Ellis

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Patricia Ellis welcomes guests


Ambassador Cuisia addresses WFPG

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Patricia Ellis, Mrs. Maria Victoria Cuisia, and
Corporate Advisory Counsel Member Kate Irvin of Coca-Cola 


Board Members Carolyn Brehm and
Diana Villiers Negroponte during the reception

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Kate Thompson of Deloitte asks a question 


Patricia Ellis asks Ambassador Cuisia during the Q&A

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Carolyn Brehm, Kate Irvin, Patricia Ellis
and other guests enjoy the concert


Filipino-American pianist Kim Barroso

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