President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is set to fly to the United States next week to participate in the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and speak before an economic briefing.
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said Marcos will leave for New York on September 18.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Marcos is set to tackle food security, climate change and rule of law in his speech before the UN.
The President will deliver the Philippine national statement "at the high level general debate," said Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Kira Christianne Danganan-Azucena.
"He's speaking at approximately 3:15 in the afternoon of Day 1, that's Tuesday, September 20, 2022," Azucena said at a virtual presser.
"The theme of this year's general debate is 'A Watershed Moments: Transformative Solutions to Interlocking Challenges.' We can expect the President's statement to identify these challenges and solutions to address them, the role of the United Nations and how the Philippines intends to contribute to these efforts," she added.
"The President's statement will also articulate his administration's priorities which include climate change, the rule of law, and food security."
Azucena said more or less 152 heads of states and officials are expected to attend the general debate, in which Marcos is expected to meet some of them as well as other US officials.
She also said this trip is important as this marks Marcos' first engagement with the UN, which the Philippines considers as a significant multilateral organization.
Marcos' US trip also aims to bring investments for the country's economic recovery, according to Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Jose Victor Gonzaga.
"Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and with much uncertainty and disruption around us, the President is not sparing any effort to address the economic challenges facing the country today," said Gonzaga.
"The President has made it very clear from the initial discussions preparatory to this trip to New York that it will be more than his debut on the world stage. He gave unequivocal instructions that his meetings, whether with fellow world leaders, or with US corporations, should focus on finding necessary partnerships or synergies that will benefit the Philippine economy and the Filipino people," he added.
Gonzaga said Marcos is set to speak before an economic briefing that aims to harvest investments for the Philippines.
"As such, the other most important speech that the President will deliver in New York, aside from his UNGA address, will be at the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB). The PEB is expected to attract institutional investors, senior corporate executives, business analysts, and even academic think tanks, and entrepreneurs," said Gonzaga.
“This briefing will be an opportunity to outline the key economic priorities of his administration with a special focus on how we can hopefully expand and strengthen Philippine-US trade and investment relations during his term.”
Marcos is also expected to participate in roundtables with targeted sectors, some US companies, the US Chamber of Commerce, the US-ASEAN Business Council, and the US-Philippines Society.
"The President intends to meet with US companies that would be able to contribute to our efforts to achieve food security, energy security, and sustainable economic development, among others," said Gonzaga.
Cruz-Angeles, meanwhile, said Marcos would only visit the Filipino community in New York when "the opportunity arises."
South China Sea
When asked if the South China Sea issue would be raised by the President during the US visit, Azucena said the draft statement includes the rule of law and the role of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
She said Marcos' final speech would be vetted by the Office of the President.
"In the draft statement that we have prepared for the President, there is a very strong mention of the rule of law and the role of the UNCLOS but of course... the statements and speeches of the President are usually vetted by the Office of the President. Beyond that, I cannot offer further comment," Azucena said.
Marcos will leave Manila on September 18 and will be back on September 24. —KBK/VBL, GMA News