President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Tuesday left Manila for Labuan Bajo in Indonesia to participate in the 42nd ASEAN Summit.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Marcos is expected to assert the importance of demonstrating ASEAN’s centrality in the region amidst geopolitical rivalries.
The President will also advance the Philippines’ priorities in ASEAN through regional and multilateral cooperation, the DFA said.
“My participation will serve to promote and protect the interest of the country including our continued efforts toward economic growth, attaining food and energy security, promoting trade and investment, combating transnational crimes such as the trafficking of persons, and protecting migrant workers in crisis situations,” Marcos said in his pre-departure speech.
The Summit's opening ceremony would be held on May 10, which will be followed by a plenary session as well as a series of interfaces among ASEAN leaders, representatives, and delegates of relevant ASEAN bodies.
“The leaders of ASEAN will also exchange views on pressing issues of common concerns such as developments in the South China Sea, the situation in Myanmar, and major power rivalries, amongst others,” Marcos said.
Marcos said he will also participate in the 15th Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area.
“In these meetings, we will have the opportunity to highlight the importance of strengthening cooperation in the BIMP-EAGA sub-region to sustain a striving economy,” he said.
The president said he is also looking forward to holding a bilateral meeting with leaders of Timor–Leste, who will be joining ASEAN for the first time as an observer.
“And as the theme of this ASEAN summit is clearly manifesting, it is once again towards economic growth and to recognize that ASEAN and Southeast Asia have been the partners that the other parts of the world… look to Southeast Asia as the growth center for global economy,” he said.
“And that is why it is very important that we go and continue to discuss amongst other ASEAN leaders on how we can maximize and find that extra energy, that synergy from our working together,” he added. —KBK, GMA Integrated News