ADRi Virtual International Conference: “70 Years of the 1951 Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT): Opportunities and Challenges in a Changing 21st Century Indo-Pacific Region”

While public health and economic recovery certainly remain top priorities in the Philippines, threats on regional and national security continue to run concurrent to the crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the complexity of the Indo-Pacific region, the Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi) believes that there is an important need to discuss and analyze the future of the U.S.-Philippines alliance and its significance in maintaining peace and stability in the region. This is also in line with the Institute’s advocacy to strengthen the discourse regarding the country’s foreign policy and national security strategy.

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Diplomatic Relations and the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, ADRi, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Manila and the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), organized a virtual international conference to serve as a platform for various stakeholders including Filipino government officials, officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), diplomats, academics, and business personalities to examine the future of the U.S.-Philippines alliance through the origin, features, and development of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).


Welcoming Remarks
Dr. Jose Santos Carandang VI MNSA
Vice President for Academics and Dean, National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP)

Opening Remarks
Prof. Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit
President, Stratbase ADR Institute

Keynote Address
Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana, AFP (Ret.)
Secretary, Department of National Defense (DND)

Ms. Heather Variava
Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, U.S. Embassy in Manila

First Panel

Moving Towards a Stronger U.S.-Philippines Alliance
Amb. Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez
Philippine Ambassador to the U.S.

Return to Multilateralism: U.S. Leadership in the Indo-Pacific
Amb. Jennifer Galt
Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

Advancing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific
Dr. James Kraska
Chairman and Charles H. Stockton Professor of International Maritime Law, Stockton Center for International Law, US Naval War College; Visiting Professor of Law, John Harvey Gregory Lecturer on World Organization, Harvard Law School

Second Panel

The San Francisco System of Bilateral Alliances: From the Cold War to the U.S.-China Strategic Competition
Dr. Andrew Yeo
Professor of Politics & Director of Asian Studies, Catholic University of America;
SK-Korea Foundation Chair, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Brookings Institution

The 1951 MDT as the Legal Foundation of the Philippines-U.S. Alliance
Dr. Renato de Castro
Trustee and Program Convenor, Stratbase ADR Institute;
Professor, International Studies Department, De La Salle University

Legal and Diplomatic Remedies to the 1951 MDT Ambiguities in the Face of a Changing Indo-Pacific Region
Dr. Jay Batongbacal
Director, UP Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea

Closing Remarks
Amb. Albert del Rosario
Chairperson, Stratbase ADR Institute;
Former Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs

Dr. Charmaine Misalucha-Willoughby
Associate Professor, International Studies Department, De La Salle University

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