Filtered By: Topstories

Marcos says Asia-Pacific can prosper sans Cold War mentality

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Monday (Tuesday, PH time) said countries in the Asia-Pacific region can pursue their own destiny and not be affected by intense geopolitical rivalry, adding that Cold War mentality is not something they want to embrace.

Marcos made the comment during a luncheon hosted for him and Philippine chief executive officers by the Philippine Economic Development Cabinet Cluster in Davos, Switzerland. The President is in Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF).

He said there is pressure on Asia-Pacific countries to take sides due to the intense geopolitical tension in the region.

Marcos however said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies are determined not to return to the Cold War mentality, wherein they have to choose if they will be under the Soviet Union or United States spheres of influence.

The Philippines is in a very precarious position as it is on the front line of the conflict, Marcos said. "This is the very fine line that the Philippines has to choose."

“However, I think we are determined as a group in ASEAN and in the Indo-Pacific, those around the Indo-Pacific, despite all of this conflict we are determined to stay away from that,” Marcos said.

“And simply because we are anchored in the idea that the future of the Indo-Pacific, the future of Asia-Pacific for example cannot be determined by any one but the countries of the Asia-Pacific and that removes us immediately from that idea that you must choose, we choose our friends, we choose our neighbors, that’s the choice that we will make," he said.

Marcos also said he and other leaders in the region want a multi-polar system in the South China Sea wherein no one country is in control.

"Around the South China Sea, we all desire a more multi-polar. However, the forces of us going back to that Cold War type of scenario where you have to choose one side or the other are strong. And when I speak to the other ASEAN, APEC members and the other leaders and I ask them and they ask me, 'Do you feel it that you must choose?' And I say, 'Yes, don't you?' And unanimously, they say yes," he said.


Marcos also said there is a tendency for nations to move toward nationalism and protectionism due to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Such is what happened to the Philippines, Marcos said, wherein the COVID-19 pandemic brought the country back to basics and could no longer depend on importation to survive.

“We have to strengthen our own local economy to be able to withstand shocks such as the pandemic, such as Ukraine in the future and there is an element, there is a tendency of protectionism in that because we take care first of our own businesses, we take care first of our own industries, we take care first of our own economy,” he said.

Marcos said the world will find itself on the path toward globalization despite disruptions which can be "a very big bump on the road."

“I think the tendency after things have settled, after countries such as the Philippines have put in place the elements of policy, the elements of legislation that are necessary to be able to adjust to what is the new coming economy, once that is in place, I think that the globalization will start — we will start to return to the tendency of globalization. I think it is inevitable," he said.

The President pointed out that "we will start to return to the tendency of globalization," noting that we could no longer go back to a non-global economy due to where technology has brought us.

"But I think that technology has taken us too far. We cannot go back, and in both the global arena and in terms of politics, the geopolitics of it and in terms of the economy, the global economy, it is now conceptually impossible to even think that we could have a non-global economy, that we will return to what we were 200 years ago, a hundred years ago. That simply is not going happen," he said.

When it comes to trade, the President emphasized that no country has become wealthy without having a strong trade relationship with "the rest of the world."

"But again, but there is the contrary force to that is that the very clear understanding and assumption by everyone who thinks about these things that trade is the key to wealth for any country," Marcos said.

"No country grew wealthy without a very strong trade relationship, not only with one or two other countries but with the rest of the world," Marcos added.

Present during the luncheon were Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, and Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista.

Also part of the Philippine delegation to the WEF are former President and incumbent Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Senator Mark Villar, House Senior Deputy Majority Leader Ferdinand "Sandro" Marcos III, and other officials.

Business tycoons joining the Philippine delegation are Sabin Aboitiz (Aboitiz), Kevin Andrew Tan (Alliance Global), Jaime Zobel de Ayala (Ayala Group), Lance Gokongwei (JG Summit Holdings), Ramon Ang (San Miguel Corp.), Teresity Sy-Coson (SM Investments) and Enrique Razon (International Container Terminal).

Marcos will speak at the WEF on Wednesday, January 18.

He was invited to greet the participants and to express his perspective on one of the main topics of discussion — the need for increased global cooperation.

The WEF has been held annually since 1971 with the sole purpose of connecting leaders from businesses, politics, academia, and society to shape and collaborate in search of better solutions on global issues.

This year, topics of discussion range from new technologies to global trade and digital platforms. —with a report from Anna Felicia Bajo/KG, GMA Integrated News