President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. left on Sunday for state visits to Indonesia and Singapore, his first overseas trip since assuming office.
Press Secretary Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles said Marcos will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Singapore President Halimah Yacob to discuss bilateral relations with the two close neighbors.
“The state visits of President Marcos will tackle our cooperation with Indonesia and Singapore in the different sectors as well as the signing of several key agreements that are seen to bolster the Philippines' relations with the two countries,” Cruz-Angeles said in a statement posted on her Facebook page.
“The President will also meet the Filipino communities in Indonesia and Singapore to personally assure them of the government's continuing commitment to protect their rights and promote their welfare as OFWs,” she added.
Marcos' first state visit will be in Indonesia on September 4 to 6, upon the invitation of Widodo.
During the state visit, Foreign Affairs spokesman Ma. Teresita Daza said that Marcos and Widodo will discuss active and multi-faceted cooperation on defense, maritime border, economic, and people-to-people cooperation.
Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia, is the current President of the G-20, a strategic multilateral grouping of major developed and emerging economies. It is also the incoming Chair of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) next year.
Besides bilateral issues, Marcos and Widodo will also exchange views on major issues affecting the region and the world such as the South China Sea disputes, the global pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine War.
The two presidents will also witness the signing of several agreements on defense and culture, as well as a comprehensive plan of action that will chart the countries' bilateral priorities over the next few years.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia will ink the Plan of Action for five years, while a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cultural cooperation will be signed by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia.
The renewal of the 1997 Agreement on Cooperative Activities in the Field of Defense and Security will also be signed.
“The President will also meet with business leaders to promote trade and investment to support the Philippines' economic agenda under his administration,” Daza said during a Palace press briefing.
After visiting Indonesia, Marcos will fly to Singapore for a state visit from September 6 to 7 at the invitation of Yacob.
He is scheduled to have separate meetings with the Singaporean President and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries, as well as regional and global issues.
Marcos and Lee will also witness the signing of agreements on counterterrorism and data privacy.
Daza said that one of the agreements is the assignment of a team to the regional counter-terrorism information facility, which will be signed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Singapore Armed Forces.
The MoU on cooperation in personal data protection, which envisions strengthening the digitization efforts of both countries, will be signed by the National Privacy Commission and the Personal Data Protection Commission of Singapore.
The President will also join an economic briefing as well as business roundtable meetings in Singapore to promote the Philippines as an investment destination to create more jobs in the country.
“The President's back-to-back visits to Indonesia and Singapore as his inaugural overseas trip demonstrate the importance the Philippines places on the relations with our fellow Asean neighbors,” Daza said.
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