Sharing the Vibrancy of U.S.-Philippines People-to-People Ties

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Filipino-American sailors aboard the USS John P Murtha, docked in San Diego, share their impressions of Navy life with FPC tour participants on February 2, 2017 (U.S. Department of State).
Filipino-American sailors aboard the USS John P Murtha, docked in San Diego, share their impressions of Navy life with FPC tour participants on February 2, 2017.

Sharing the Vibrancy of U.S.-Philippines People-to-People Ties

The U.S. Department of State recently hosted 10 distinguished Filipino journalists for a reporting tour of the United States. Amid the backdrop of the recent U.S. political transition, these media professionals traveled to study the vibrant ties between the U.S. and Filipino people and the important role that Filipino-Americans play in American politics, culture, business, society, and sports. As these reporters demonstrated through their filings, the nature of this relationship can best be understood through personal stories of Filipinos and Americans with Filipino ancestry who contribute to American society and its economy.   

The reporters who participated in the visit were selected by the U.S. Embassy in Manila based on their professionalism and their creative storytelling abilities. Their visit was sponsored by the Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs’ Foreign Press Centers, in cooperation with the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and resulted in more than 90 articles, TV news spots, video blogs, and social media postings that painted stories of a multifaceted, deep, and enduring relationship. This flurry of engaging media was viewed by hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and, since this visit, many of the award-winning authors have continued to write stories on U.S. politics, culture, and society, enriching Filipinos’ understanding of the United States and U.S.-Philippines relations.

The 10 journalists -- representing popular print, online, and broadcast media from all parts of the Philippines -- interacted with a multitude of actors during their 10 days in the United States. A highlight of the Washington, D.C. stop was an exclusive meeting with Acting State Department Spokesperson Mark Toner, who assured the group that the recently-released Presidential Executive Order on immigration would not affect Filipinos traveling to the United States. The group also heard from distinguished scholars at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and an expert from the Center of Strategic and International Studies. Before leaving the District, the group enjoyed an in-depth discussion with the Filipino-American owner of the Purple Patch, a very successful Filipino restaurant in Washington.

In California, the reporters spoke with groups who advocate for Filipino workers, among other local leaders. Reporting by one of the journalists made such an impact in his home country that the Philippine government reversed a prior vow that they would not assist undocumented Filipinos who encountered trouble in the United States.

One reporter summed up the experience by stating, “Nothing teaches better than experience. Hearing stories firsthand from people living in the Filipino-American space, from government and non-government news sources, all these have given me a genuine glimpse of the thriving relationship between our two countries.” 

About the Author: Mark Zimmer serves as a Media Relations Officer in the bureau of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.

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