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MARCOS LAUDED FOR ‘HIGHLY REWARDING’ STATE VISITS

The back-to-back state visits of President Marcos to Indonesia and Singapore were “highly rewarding” debut official trips that yielded better-than-expected outcomes, including almost  P840 billion worth of combined investment pledges projected to create more than 15,000 jobs for Filipino workers, and deepened our ties with these two long-time Southeast Asian partners that spruced up his standing on the global stage as the country’s 17th head of state, according to Camarines Sur Rep. and National Unity Party (NUP) President LRay Villafuerte.

Villafuerte said the Sept. 4-7  foreign trips, which the President himself described in his arrival speech as “fruitful and engaging,” has enabled Mr. Marcos “to deliver this early on his SONA (State of the Nation Address) commitments to attract FDIs (foreign direct investments); create more jobs; strive for food and energy  security;  promote stronger, multi-faceted relations with other partner-countries; and advance the interests of OFWs (overseas Filipino workers).”

In his arrival speech on Wednesday, the President reported having secured more than $15 billion (roughly P839.7 billion) in combined investment pledges during his four-day inaugural foreign journey—$8.484 billion worth of promised FDIs from investors in Indonesia and another $6.54 billion worth from those in Singapore.

“The better-than-expected outcome of the President’s debut trips abroad has spruced up his standing on the global stage as our 17th head of state,” Villafuerte said.

“I am optimistic,” he added, “that under the President’s leadership, his administration will be able to complete soon enough the detailed work necessary to bring into fruition the investment pledges and proposals on defense, trade, energy, agriculture, e-commerce, housing, and other fields that the President had secured in his just-concluded, back-to-back state visits to Indonesia and Singapore,” Villafuerte said.

Villafuerte likewise cited the President for taking time out to meet separately with members of the Filipino communities in Indonesia and Singapore in order to thank them for their invaluable contribution to the domestic economy and to assure them of the Marcos government’s full support for them under the newly established Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).

In his arrival speech on Wednesday, the President reported having secured more than $15 billion (roughly P839.7 billion) in combined investment pledges during his four-day inaugural foreign journey—$8.484 billion worth of promised FDIs from investors in Indonesia and another $6.54 billion worth from those in Singapore.

The investments pledged by Singaporean investors alone are projected to create 15,000 jobs for Filipino workers, according to the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) in a separate statement.

Mr. Marcos has described his first foreign trip abroad since assuming the Presidency last June 30 as “more productive than we had expected.”

President Marcos bared in his speech that he had signed and sealed 10 Letters of Intent (LOIs) and 12 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) on renewable energy (RE), data centers, e-commerce, broadband technology, start-ups, government housing, and agriculture, and witnessed the signing of several LOIs and MOUs with 22 Indonesian and Singaporean investors.

Villafuerte observed that Mr. Marcos’ separate one-on-one meetings with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and with Singaporean President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have further deepened Philippine relations with these two regional economies, and cleared the way to help address domestic and international concerns whose solutions require support from other states.

As noted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the need for maintaining a conducive environment for Code of Conduct (COC) negotiations covering the South China Sea (SCS) was among the issues discussed by President Marcos with the two  Singapore leaders.

In a joint statement issued by the DFA, these three leaders from the Philippines and Singapore said they sought a stable SCS as they reiterated the call by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a “peaceful resolution of disputes,” underscored “the importance of the full and effective implementation” of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea, and stressed the need for “substantive negotiations towards the conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct (COC) in the SCS, in accordance with international laws,” including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The President announced that his discussions with President Widodo on ASEAN being the “lead agent” in bringing about peace amid global issues had “progressed so rapidly” that both of them  agreed to organize task forces that would already tackle at the technical level “the opportunities that we feel that are available to us and that we will need to exploit to succeed in the near future.”

As for his meeting with Widodo, the President said his comprehensive discussions with the former covered defense, security, maritime cooperation, trade and investment, and people-to-people ties, and that the two of them renewed both countries’ commitment to stronger bilateral cooperation as fellow ASEAN members.

The NUP president likewise lauded the President for “turning his trip to Indonesia into an opportune occasion to tackle the delimitation of the two countries’ boundaries pertaining to their continental shelves, and how this proposal could possibly become a template for resolving conflicting claims not only of our other Southeast Asian neighbors but also with China, which has a nagging territorial dispute with the Philippines.”

Mr. Marcos said he and President Widodo had  “discussed the delimitation of our boundaries respective to our continental shelves, which I hope can become a template for resolving conflicting claims.”

The two of them likewise talked, said President Marcos, about importing urea fertilizer from Indonesia for our farms and resuming imports of Indonesian coal for our energy supply.  Indonesia recently stopped exporting coal to the Philippines, said the President.

In his inaugural overseas trip, President Marcos witnessed with President Widodo the signing of cooperation accords meant to broaden Philippine ties with Indonesia on defense, security, creative economy and culture.

With Prime Minister Lee later, President Marcos witnessed the signing and exchange of agreements on counterterrorism, personal data protection, digital cooperation, water resource management, and investments.

The President announced that his discussions with President Widodo on ASEAN being the “lead agent” in bringing about peace amid global issues had “progressed so rapidly” that both of them  agreed to organize task forces that would already tackle at the technical level “the opportunities that we feel that are available to us and that we will need to exploit to succeed in the near future.”

The President said he had talked with President Widodo about a peaceful resolution of the two countries’ overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs) as stated under UNCLOS, saying, “We had talks on that delimitation to establish our baselines because our EEZ overlaps with that of Indonesia, which had caused tension.”

“So I said that could be the template … not only for the issues between Indonesia and the Philippines but of other (countries) that are engaged with delimitation talks,” he said, adding that he told President Widodo that the arrangement between their countries may be used as an “example” by other ASEAN member-states in resolving their own maritime disputes.

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