The United States-Philippines Relationship
Office of the Spokesperson
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to Manila, Philippines, where he will meet with President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo to reaffirm the U.S.-Philippines Alliance and the U.S. commitment to the Indo-Pacific region. They will discuss the economic, security, and people-to-people ties that serve as the foundation of our enduring friendship with the Philippines, and efforts to strengthen our partnership through increased cooperation on trade, investment, and clean energy, advancing our shared democratic values, and pandemic recovery.
The United States and the Philippines are Enduring Friends, Partners and Allies
The United States looks forward to strengthening the excellent cooperation between our two countries, as friends, partners, and allies.
- U.S.-Philippine relations are based on strong historical and cultural linkages and shared democratic values and interests. Strong people-to-people ties, economic cooperation, and security and defense cooperation between the Philippines and the United States provide avenues to engage on a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues.
- The Philippines’ participation in the Summit for Democracy Year of Action provides an avenue for continued engagement and collaboration on democracy, human rights, and rule of law.
People-to-People Ties are the Foundation of the U.S.-Philippines Friendship
- The United States and the Philippines enjoy robust people-to-people connections.
- More than four million Filipino-Americans live in the United States, and almost 300,000 U.S. citizens reside in the Philippines. Our diaspora communities are woven into the fabric of each of our nations, immeasurably strengthening our bilateral relationship and our respective societies.
- Approximately 21,000 Filipinos have participated in USG-sponsored people-to-people exchange programs between the United States and the Philippines, including in the longest continuously running Fulbright program in the world, the International Visitor Leadership Program, the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program, and the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI).
- In addition, the United States’ International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) counts on more than 2,100 Filipinos who have participated in the program since its launch in 1940.
- The United States has had a Peace Corps program in the Philippines for more than 50 years.
Close Cooperation on Economics, Energy, and Health Benefits Both Countries
- The United States is among the Philippines’ top three trading partners, and the Philippines is the United States’ 31st-largest goods trading partner with $30.2 billion in total (two-way) trade during 2021. The United States is one of the largest foreign investors in the Philippines.
- For the past 60 years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has worked with the Philippine government and local organizations to achieve shared development goals, investing more than $5 billion to support the Philippines since 1961. Current development priorities include mitigating and adapting to climate change, promoting renewable energy, preventing and mitigating conflict, bolstering economic recovery, advancing democratic values, fighting corruption, and advocating for human rights. Advancing women’s economic empowerment is critical to addressing the challenges facing our time, including COVID-19, climate change, and gender-based violence. The United States has also been the Philippines’ strongest partner in countering the COVID-19 pandemic, providing over $39 million in pandemic-related assistance and donating more than 33 million vaccine doses in partnership with COVAX as of July 2022.
- The United States and the Philippines collaborate closely with one another on clean energy. USAID’s $34 million Energy Secure Philippines (ESP) supports a more competitive, secure, and resilient Philippine energy sector by working to improve the performance and efficiency of energy utilities, deploy renewable energy systems, enhance competition in the power sector, and bolster energy sector cybersecurity. ESP will help mobilize more than $750 million in private sector investment into the sector and develop at least 500 megawatts of additional clean energy generation capacity.
- The Department of State Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR) Clean Energy Demand Initiative (CEDI) and the Government of the Philippines are advancing corporate clean energy procurement following the signing of a Letter of Intent to adopt policy principles with 12 companies who signaled they would invest up to $2.1 billion in the Philippines clean power infrastructure. ENR is also supporting responsible and sound mining sector development in the Philippines through its Energy Resource Governance Initiative, which promotes resilient and diverse critical mineral supply chains for clean energy technologies. Further, ENR is working with the Philippines on upstream development of its geothermal resources through the Geothermal Development Initiative.
- The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has funded activities ranging from smart grids, renewable power generation, distributed energy, and energy storage systems to help the Philippines optimize their resources, strengthen markets, and build resilient energy systems. To date, USTDA has completed 33 energy activities for the Philippines that have been credited by U.S. companies with generating over $557 million in U.S. exports.
- The United States and the Philippines also collaborate closely with one another on nuclear energy. In March, the United States and the Philippines signed a Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Strategic Civil Nuclear Cooperation (NCMOU), which provides a framework for cooperation and a mutually aligned approach to nonproliferation on civil nuclear issues. The United States also provides assistance to the Philippines through our Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) program which deepens our strategic ties, supports energy innovation, and advances our technical collaboration with the Philippines on secure, safe nuclear energy infrastructure.
Security Cooperation Strengthens Our Alliance and Benefits the Region
- The Philippines is a treaty ally and an important security partner.
- Bilateral defense agreements continue to provide the foundation for the defense relationship and enable critical U.S. military support, presence, and interoperability. The 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) provides a strong foundation for our robust post-World War II security partnership. Designed to supplement the MDT, the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) reaffirm mutual security cooperation between the United States and the Philippines. Together these agreements build capacity for U.S. forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines by enabling greater interoperability, capability development, and modernization, expand opportunities for bilateral training, augment the U.S. ability to provide rapid assistance in the Philippines in cases of natural disasters, and support efforts to uphold the rules-based order in the South China Sea that protects the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea guaranteed to all nations. The General Security of Military Information Agreement between the Philippines and the United States complements information-sharing and equipment modernization efforts.
- Annual military exercises conducted jointly between the armed services of the Philippines and the United States, such as the annual exercise “Balikatan,” test interoperability and capabilities.
- We support the Philippines’ counterterrorism efforts against ISIS and other terrorist groups. U.S. counterterrorism assistance improves the Philippines’ ability to respond to terrorist attacks and enhance law enforcement capacity to effectively investigate and prosecute cases of terrorism.