Marcos back in Manila from trilateral meeting in Washington

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President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is back in the Philippines after attending a trilateral summit with the leaders of the US and Japan in Washington.

Marcos and his party arrived in Manila at 3:03 a.m. Sunday.

Marcos on the trip met US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

“During our meeting, we reaffirmed our commitment to a peaceful, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Marcos said.

“We are guided by our shared values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and gender equality. We explored ways of enhancing our cooperation in a number of areas of mutual concern, including in enhancing economic resilience and security, promoting inclusive growth and development, addressing climate change and maritime cooperation,” he added.

Marcos said the US and Japan vowed support for the infrastructure development and connectivity in the Philippines through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, the implementation of the Open Radio Access Network, workforce development for the semiconductor industry, capacity building in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the country’s membership in the Minerals Security Partnership Forum.

“I took the opportunity to update President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida on the latest developments in the South China Sea, including the recent incident at Ayungin Shoal,” Marcos said.

“I also had a bilateral meeting with President Biden, wherein we reaffirmed our commitment to the long-standing Philippines-U.S. alliance,” he added.

Marcos said he also met with Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation to discuss the country’s commitment to diversify the Philippines’ energy mix to the promotion of clean and energy sources.

He also mentioned meeting with Google executives to discuss internet infrastructures to support the country’s IT-BPM industry through secured data flows. Google has committed to assist Filipino micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in building an online presence, and to train over 100,000 children and their parents on the responsible use of digital technology.

A trilateral agreement among the US, Japan, and the Philippines “is going to change the dynamic, the dynamic that we see in the region, in ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] in Asia, around the South China Sea,” Marcos said Friday during a press conference in Washington.

The President also said investments from China will not be affected by the Trilateral Leaders Summit.

“China will continue whatever investments they choose to make. This is separate from any proposed or potential Chinese investments in the Philippines. How do I see how it will affect? I don’t see that it will affect, one way or the other,” the President told reporters in a press conference.

During a business forum co-hosted by the US-ASEAN Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce on Friday evening, Marcos also appealed to the US to expedite the reauthorization of the Generalized System of Preference (US GSP), which provides preferential, duty-free entry of select Philippine products to the American market.

Marcos in his arrival statement also enumerated US investments and commitments.

“Over the past year, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency has led to activities worth over $500 million to develop high quality infrastructure in the Philippines. Focusing on renewable energy, smart grids, and healthcare solutions,” he said.

“Similarly, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation has pledged to mobilize private sector investment in critical sectors such as infrastructure and renewable energy with a new $20 million loan, earmarked for affordable housing in the Philippines,” Marcos added.

“Moreover, the recent U.S. Presidential trade and investment mission showcased over $1 billion in combined investments from 22 U.S. companies and organizations during a visit to Manila in March 2024,” he said.

The President said he is looking forward to the Indo-Pacific Business Forum to be held on May 21 in Manila which “promises to be a significant platform for fostering infrastructure development and reinforcing economic ties in the region.”

Over 500 senior executives and government officials will attend the said forum, he added.

“In conclusion, I’m confident that our collaborative efforts will pave the way for a brighter, more prosperous future for the Indo-Pacific region. Together we can harness the power of infrastructure and innovation to drive sustainable development and economic growth,” Marcos said. —NB/KG, GMA Integrated News

 

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