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Onward and Upward: The Philippines-U.S. Security Alliance

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR1, pp. 45-50


As Asia’s oldest security allies, the Philippines and the United States have cooperated on many wars, defense, and security activities and initiatives that served their common interests. However, the constant changes in their domestic and international environments and the rise of new threats bring uncertainties that fuel aspersions on the security relationship. This paper explains why the Philippines-U.S. alliance has been and will continue to be important for the two states. It also compares the alliance with others in the region. An analytical framework is presented to show Manila’s disposition toward its alliance with Washington. The framework combines a binary choice model and the unique country categorization vis- à-vis engagement with the United States as an ally or partner. This provides context and nuance for why the Philippines acts the way it does and still prefers operating closely within the U.S. ambit. The paper concludes with recommendations for moving the U.S-Philippine security relations forward.

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About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the inaugural U.S.- Philippines Next-Generation Leaders Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. With backgrounds from academia, public policy, civil society and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Philippines bilateral security relations.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the positions of its staff, donors and sponsors.

Deryk Matthew N. Baladjay is a member of the Pacific Forum’s Young Leaders Program. He is also Research Manager at Amador Research Services and an Assistant Editor at the Philippine Strategic Forum, based in Manila.

Florence Principe Gamboa is a non-resident Vasey Fellow at the Pacific Forum. She is also Senior Research Associate at Amador Research Services and Managing Editor at the Philippine Strategic Forum, based in Manila.

Photo: Filipino and American service-members posing for a photo after a Combined Arms Live-Fire Exercise during Balikatan 2019 at Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base, Philippines, April 10, 2019. Source: U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class John Etheridge/Public Domain