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3:31 pm on 4 September 2022, Sunday
By Patricia Francia Lachica
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has left the country Sunday morning to hold his first ever state visits in Indonesia and Singapore as he eyes to bolster the relationship of the country with its regional neighbors.
Marcos will hold a three-day state visit in Indonesia from September 4 to 6. The chief executive is also set to visit Singapore on September 6 to 7, 2022.
"Indonesia has been our ally and one of our closest bilateral partners for the past seven decades. I shall reaffirm our ties with a fellow archipelagic nation and ASEAN co-founder, with which we share an extensive maritime border in the south of the Philippines," Marcos said in a departure statement at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.
He added that the country would witness the signing of several agreements between Indonesia and the Philippines on "defense and security, creative economy, and culture."
"During my visit, President Widodo and I will be meeting for the first time and will be discussing the current state, as well as the future, of the bilateral relationship between the Philippines and Indonesia, and the changing global geopolitical environment," continued the president.
The Philippine leader is also set to meet President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to renew the country's adherence to bilateral relations and advance economic ties – mainly the "trade and investment" between the Philippines and Singapore.
"Singapore has been the Philippines' top trading partner in ASEAN and the top source of approved investments in 2021. Our economic cooperation with Singapore has grown by leaps and bounds for the past half-century, and more opportunities are just waiting to be tapped by both sides," added Marcos.
According to Marcos, Singapore is home to an estimated 200,000 Filipinos that have substantially contributed to Singapore and the Philippines' economies.
"We have a full set of meetings and much work to accomplish during this trip, but it will not be complete without meeting our kababayans in Indonesia and Singapore. I look forward to sharing with them our commitment and plans for enhancing the government's efforts to protect the rights and ensure the welfare of our overseas Filipinos, and convey my appreciation for their support and valuable contributions to our country," he said.
Economic briefings and business forums have also been organized in Singapore to attract more investments and buyers for the country’s exports during Marcos’ visit.
While holding his state visits, Marcos designated Vice President Sara Duterte, who was also present during the send-off ceremony at NAIA, as the country’s officer-in-charge.