Presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. held wide-ranging talks with the Chargé d’Affaires of the United States embassy in Manila as well as the ambassadors of Japan, South Korea, and India during separate meetings on Monday at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City.
He expressed his desire to manufacture pharmaceutical products in his meeting with Indian Ambassador Shambhu S. Kumaran.
Marcos also signaled his determination to adopt nuclear power as he held talks with South Korean Ambassador Kim Inchul on possibly reviving a mothballed $2.2-billion plant built during his father’s term.
He also met with Japanese ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa and US Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava.
“We were able to discuss many of the things [such as] how we are going to handle the next few years in terms of the relationship of our countries,” Marcos said in a press briefing after the series of meetings.
In a statement after the meeting, the Marcos camp said the foreign diplomats vowed to strengthen ties in trade and diplomacy, as well as their common interests in democracy, self-determination, and economic recovery.
“This new administration is being recognized—there seems to be no problem with recognition. Maybe the comfortable margin that we enjoy during the election has a part to play with that,” Marcos said.
The envoys also assured Marcos of their willingness to provide necessary assistance to hasten the country’s recovery from the ill-effects of the pandemic.
“All I always remind them is, in this pandemic the recovery of all of us will not be possible for even one country [alone]. No matter how much wealth [we have], we need the partnership [and that] will be the one that will bring us to keep the global economy as stable as possible,” Marcos said.
The Indian ambassador, for his part, said: “We’ve been having excellent progress for the past few years, and we look forward to continuing the progress under the new administration.”
“The President-elect was very keen to see domestic manufacturing of pharmaceutical products. Indian companies are looking forward to a strong engagement,” he said.
As for the 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant that was left dormant since 1986, Marcos said: “Can we continue with it, or do we need to build a new one? What are the things that we will have to do?”
“So, we revived the discussions on it, although they have come before. We will now study their recommendations and their findings, and we will see if we can still apply,” he added.
Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order earlier this year making nuclear power part of the country’s planned energy mix.
The Philippines—regularly affected by electricity outages—relies on imported carbon-belching coal for more than half of its power generation.
Supporters of nuclear power say the technology offers a cleaner option to help meet demand.
But critics argue that renewable sources, such as wind and solar, are cheaper and safer to produce in a country hit by earthquakes, typhoons, and volcanic eruptions.
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