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Philippine envoy eyes June 2023 US state visit for Marcos

WASHINGTON — Manila's top diplomat to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) said the embassy is looking at June 2023 as one of the possible dates for the first state visit to America of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

In a briefing with visiting Filipino journalists, Romualdez said the embassy will try to time the visit during the Summit for Democracy that will be held in the US capital. Marcos is expected to attend the summit. 

“We are going to start working on that one as a possibility,” Romualdez said.

Marcos' state visit is expected to highlight his administration's efforts to reaffirm ties with the US, in a key turnaround from the hostile treatment of Manila's longest treaty ally by his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, who vowed never to step foot in America.

"It is not a goal. It is our view that it is time for a Philippine President to come to Washington DC and of course the White House is also looking at it as such. The summit for democracy may be an opportunity for us to schedule it, but it is still up in the air of course," Romualdez said.

If the US state visit pushes through, it will be the first for a Philippine leader in 19 years.

The last Philippine President who went to Washington for a state visit was then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2003, while then-President Benigno Aquino III was there for an official visit in 2012.    

"It will be good for our continuing relationship with the United States,” Romualdez said, adding that bolstering American investments to the country will be Marcos' key priority.

Marcos and US President Joe Biden first met in an informal meeting at the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.

According to Romualdez, the two leaders "had a very good meeting and hit it off very well."

"We're in for a very good working relationship, a renewed relationship in a different level now. It will be more on what we both need, things that this country needs from us and what we need from the United States," he said. —KBK, GMA News