MVP: ‘Profitable’ proposition in store for US, PhilippinesBy Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Philippines’ long-standing relationship with the United States will outlast the turbulence now rocking the global economy and may even turn into a “profitable” proposition, businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan, founding chairman of the United States-Philippine Society Inc., said in a speech during the recent launch of the organization in Washington, DC, that the society sought to transform the relationship between the two countries 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,” said Pangilinan, who also chairs Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
The society hopes to convey to the United States Asia’s evolving perspectives—China’s in particular—“as faithfully and as accurately as we can,” he said.
Pangilinan noted that the two countries had a richly layered shared history that was longer than most people had imagined.
“Many hold the notion that our relationship was born in war and with blood—in the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898,” Pangilinan said. “Quite the contrary, [it] began with commerce—in peaceful and fruitful trade more than a century earlier, in May of 1797,” Pangilinan said.
The businessman noted that Filipinos could also have played a part in the US’ struggle for independence, in particular, the Boston Tea Party incident of 1773.
Pangilinan said this relationship had come a long way from one ship crossing the oceans carrying tea.
Today, over four million Filipinos live and work in the United States, while an estimated 300,000 Americans reside in the Philippines. About 600,000 more Americans visit the country each year, he said.
The two countries are invested in each other—in economics, politics, sports and culture, especially music.
“But as in all relationships, there have been the inevitable misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Yet our friendship has endured. In these times, that friendship can again be tested,” Pangilinan said, noting the rise of strategic concerns on the bilateral agenda—trade, terrorism and foreign policy—particularly in relation to potential hydocarbon resources in the West Philippine Sea.
“I should know—seismic work by our petroleum survey ship was interrupted only last year off Recto Bank unexpectedly,” Pangilinan said, referring to the incident involving Chinese naval vessels.
The businessman said that the organization was launched at a time of great economic turmoil—when Europe’s woes weighed down Asia and the United States grappled with its own concerns.
“Even a young and spry Asia is not immunologically privileged from these viruses,” Pangilinan said, noting that it’s in this global context that leaders are now exploring new paradigms for American-Filipino cooperation.
Short URL: http://business.inquirer.net/?p=65703