The Future of U.S.-Philippines Military Alliance
The security relationship between the United States and the Philippines is rich and has evolved over time to reflect the changing priorities of each country. Joint exercises and other forms of military training cooperation have remained central to the relationship, and in recent years there has been a focus on strengthening the capacity of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in response to crises and humanitarian disasters. Under the Duterte administration, the Philippines has resolved to pursue a more independent foreign policy as a response to the emerging regional power shift in the Asia Pacific.
Countering Violent Extremism
There is a growing global recognition that development approaches are required to address violent extremism effectively, instead of just focusing on security approaches. The Philippines has a long history in dealing with extremist groups. There have been various efforts to restructure and strengthen the country’s counterterrorism measures in cooperation with the United States and other ASEAN neighbors. There is a need for evidence-based policies and programs to counter the lure of extremism especially among the most vulnerable groups. The Philippines-U.S. collaboration in the fight against violent extremism requires analysis, along with recent developments in the Bangsamoro peace process.
Responding to Regional Challenges in Asia
The evolving economic, political, and social landscape of East Asia has affected the longstanding relationship of the United States and the Philippines. As regional powers have increased influence, both economically and militarily, the Southeast Asia ecosystem has been affected. Regional relationships are quickly shifting with global implications. Policy options to address these challenges have plagued the region, including territorial disputes and terrorism will also have to be recalibrated.
Security: Maritime, Border
The security environment continues to change rapidly in key areas such as maritime security and border security. Current challenges provide interesting entry points for debate, with sovereignty and maritime law related to territorial claims surrounding the West Philippine/South China Sea remaining pressing unsolved issues. Additionally, fluid borders persist as a challenge for customs, crime, trafficking, and security, with a range of criminal consequences and other social and humanitarian challenges affecting the Philippines.
Pushing through the Middle Income Trap: Infrastructure, Human Capital, and Areas of Bilateral Cooperation
The Philippines is at risk of becoming snared in the so-called middle-income trap, characterized by stable, low-growth economic equilibrium with talent misallocated and innovation stagnant. To sustain its economic growth and mitigate the risk of the middle-income trap, the Philippines has employed strategic economic policy framework by investing heavily towards its infrastructure through its Build, Build, Build program. These recent development offers the Philippines and the United States the opportunity to promote the advancement of structural transformation that could boost productivity in the shifting value chain and support emerging competitive sectors.
Economic Engagement: Trade, Business and Investment
The close economic ties between the United States and the Philippines are deep, and the goods trade between the two countries continues to grow. However, it should be noted that the Philippines and greater Asia-Pacific region have witnessed remarkable changes in recent years. The emerging market economies in the region have rapidly expanded in the past decade. Interdependence among the countries in the region has also increased, with many countries serving as important components of international production chains. There is the presently an opportunity to discuss the consequences of these developments and the what might arise in light of the changing economic and geopolitical landscape.
Technology and Industry: Perspectives and Areas of U.S.-Philippines Growth
The Philippines has immense potential to develop its technology industry. The Philippine government is starting to recognize the importance of science, technology, innovation, and a vibrant startup culture as areas necessary to propel positive economic development with 21st century jobs, with innovation, science and technology emphasized in the current Philippine Development Plan. The startup ecosystem is also growing and will be a critical component of future success. Yet these prospects come with great challenges requiring concrete policy solutions. The Philippines continue to lag in Asia when it comes to internet connectivity. Businesses lack support and assistance from public and private institutions as well as qualified manpower. The landscape is gradually shifting as emerging markets continue to diffuse into mass markets and major corporations acquire booming startups. The US and other developed economies have been investing heavily in advancing innovation, especially in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Smart Cities, and Quantum technology, and moving from labor-assembly to capital intensive and high-tech investments.
Engaging the Next Generation in U.S.-Philippines Relations
Trust between the United States and the Philippines remains strong. Recent surveys show that the population of the Philippines has a +60 percent favorability rating of the U.S., while cultural ties, military ties, and a host of other areas continue to remain robust. The extent to which this will hold over the ‘changing of the guard’ to the newer generation, however, merits further analysis, as the future of the U.S.-Philippines relationship will hinge on this transition.