By Prince Golez
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed high hopes that his official engagements in the United States would bring peace, stability, and prosperity to the Philippines and the entire Indo-Pacific region.
“Despite the evolving and complex challenges, my message was one of optimism—that together with the U.S., our oldest and only treaty ally, and our growing network of other partners, we will be able to bring peace, stability, prosperity to the Indo-Pacific Region, as long as our partnerships are based on mutual trust and respect for one other as sovereign equals and our actions are anchored in international law, including UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral Award,” Marcos Jr. said in his arrival statement Monday.
The President, who went on a six-day official trip to the US to attend the 30th APEC Summit and the 2nd Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Leaders’ Meeting, arrived in Manila at 9:44 p.m.
During the trip, Marcos Jr. held separate meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Peruvian President Dina Ercilia Boluarte Zegarra, US Vice President Kamala Harris, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and US INDOPACOM Commander, Admiral John Aquilino.
“Our discussions were, of course, very productive, with innovation, resilience, sustainability, and inclusiveness as cross-cutting themes, that are buttressed by our commitment to further strengthening cooperation to address common challenges that are common to all our economies both economic and national security,” according to him.
“These reinforced my discussions with leaders during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, in which I pushed for our priorities in clean, renewable, and the just, and accessible, affordable energy; food security; health systems; digitalization and digital transformation and digital inclusion of our MSMEs; and, of course, climate action through regional cooperation,” he added.
Marcos Jr. reported that the Philippines and the US signed the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, allowing the export of US nuclear technology and equipment to Manila.
They also signed the IPEF Supply Chain Agreement, which aims to improve supply chain transparency and enable sustainable industry development with respect to critical sectors and key goods.
His delegation also met with a number of American companies interested in entering the Philippine market or expanding their existing presence and operations in the country, the chief executive said.
According to him, the Philippines concluded a number of public-private and private sector agreements with US companies, including with ATMO for AI-powered weather forecasting system; and ASTRANIS and ORBITS CORP to bring reliable internet connectivity to remote areas in the country.
Meetings were also undertaken for prospect investors in the energy, pharmaceutical, and healthcare sectors, he added.
“Altogether, we return to the Philippines with more or less US$670 million in investment pledges that have the potential to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Filipinos within our country,” said Marcos.
“We look forward to seeing more of these partnerships materialize in the months ahead, especially with the visit of the high-level U.S. Presidential Trade and Investment Mission in March next year and we are also co-hosting the 2024 Indo-Pacific Business Forum.”
The President also met with the Filipino communities in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Hawaii.
He capped his visit with a speaking engagement at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, where he tackled the most crucial challenges facing the region.