Atty. Katrina Clemente-Lua, Executive Director of the Stratbase ADR Institute
The recent Shangri-La Dialogue which is an annual intergovernmental defense forum hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies was attended by 50 country delegates and ministers on the premise of building foundations for deeper security collaboration among the region’s policy makers.
Indeed, collaboration is key especially in the context of a regional community, development and security. As cliché as it may sound, there is always strength in numbers.
As such, Stratbase ADR Institute (ADRi) has consistently undertaken collaborative efforts with numerous government agencies, private sector entitles, civil society organizations, and universities not only in the country but abroad as well.
The institute has a number of ongoing partnerships that seek to strengthen the advocacy efforts of the Institute and the strategically important bilateral ties of the Philippines with other states.
A year after ADRi was founded, the initiative widely known as the US-Philippines Strategic Initiative (USPSI) was established together with top Washington think tank, Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Philippine Trade Foundation. The initiative is focused on the importance of the two countries’ alliance which underlines and explores the critical linkage of economic ties as the foundation for enduring security linkages through its joint research and programs.
Since 2015, USPSI had played a leading role in advancing high-level policy dialogue on strategic geopolitical trends of US-Philippine alliance in the context of the Indo Pacific Region. The policy agenda of the initiative covered key strategic issues such as political, security, economics, and people to people ties including education and civic society within the framework of the United States, Philippine and Southeast Asian strategic development.
With the election of Presidents Duterte and Trump in 2016, the policy directions of the two countries had to be thoroughly examined in view of the political transitions that happened that year. This became valuable intelligence that guided industry leaders in terms of understanding and adapting to the new dynamics and disruptive leadership style of the new regimes.
Through this initiative, USPSI members participated in a number of activities including a three-day visit to the US Pacific Command (PACOM) Headquarters in Hawaii where there were various high-profile discussions with the PACOM leadership and geopolitical think tank experts.
Following the July 12 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, a series of conferences were jointly organized by the Stratbase ADR Institute and the CSIS, in the Philippines and US to examine the longstanding and emerging issues in the South China Sea.
While hosting an event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the US-ASEAN relations, focus was given on re-examining the US-ASEAN relationship and stronger US-Philippine ties. ADRi through USPSI, has likewise supported CSIS’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative which has been a credible source of data and analyses relevant to maritime security issues in Asia.
These are just snippets of private sector led efforts that has served to boost the Philippines’ relation with its allies.
While the activities of the initiative have had impact in the policy milieu and consequently contributed to the discussion of bilateral and regional relations, so much more can be done to advance national issues of strategic and political importance. An enhanced level of collaboration with other countries, without a doubt, will boost our individual and regional interests, which in turn could eventually lead to regional and international harmony.
Moving forward, Stratbase ADRi together with the Philippine Trade Foundation continues to provide extensive coverage on the raging issues on regional security, trade and investment.
This week, USPSI will meet in Washington DC for several high-level policy discussions with think tanks and associations such as The Heritage Foundation, and the Asia Society Policy Institute, among others.
The insights from this rare gathering of thinkers should be very interesting.