According to Dr. Alan Ortiz, President of the Philippine Council on Foreign Relations, main threats and challenges to Southeast Asia countries are internal and external. As for the internal threats, many SEA countries have ethnic conflicts between various tribal groups. The external threats are related to attempts of the big powers, like the US, Japan and China, at dominance in the region. The SEA countries need to learn to be independent, to get out from the shadow of Washington. There is still a big debate about this in the Philippines.