MANILA – President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is slated to discuss his administration's plans for the Philippines' recovery from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Sept. 20.
This, as Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said Marcos' UNGA speech will focus on the Philippine government's interventions, including international cooperation, to fast-track the country's recovery from the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.
"In this case, the President's primary objective and in fact, his main policy in his governance, in this administration, is economic recovery. And so, all activities, particularly even those presidential activities, are related to this particular vision," Cruz-Angeles said in a Palace press briefing.
"So, we are going to expect that his speech will be relating to how the Philippines will be recovering from this pandemic and where he intends to take this, and how he will do so in cooperation with other states," she added.
Marcos is set to fly to the United States on Sept. 18 for his UNGA participation, Cruz-Angeles said.
The 77th session of the UNGA, which will take place in New York City, will present an opportunity for world leaders to offer solutions to the pressing global issues, including the Covid-19 pandemic.
Marcos' upcoming visit to the US will be his third overseas trip this month and since he assumed the presidency.
Quizzed if Marcos has a scheduled meeting with other state leaders on the sidelines of the event, Cruz-Angeles said there are "no plans" yet.
"There's no indication of a scheduled visit or meeting, other than what has already been announced," Cruz-Angeles said. "We will be making final announcement when we get to New York, as the occasion arises."
Cruz-Angeles, however, raised the possibility that Marcos might meet with the members of the Filipino community in New York City.
"The primary purpose will still be [his participation] in the [UN] General Assembly. That is the main purpose of the trip. There are no announcements or no calendared activities other than that and those congruent or collateral to this address, well of course, aside from what he usually does – meeting with the Filipino community when opportunity arises," she said.
Marcos will deliver the Philippines' national statement during the UNGA's afternoon session on Sept. 20 at around 3:15 pm (New York time).
At the high-level general debate, Marcos will join more than 150 other heads of state and government.
"The President's participation in the opening of UNGA 77 is important because it marks his first engagement with the United Nations, which the Philippines recognizes as the world's most important multilateral organization. In the US programme of activities," Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Kira Christianne Danganan-Azucena said.
"The high-level general debate is the most important event politically because this is where world leaders articulate policy statements on world affairs and international relations," she added.
During his speech, Marcos would articulate the administration's priorities, including on climate change, the rule of law, and food security.
Danganan-Azucena said Marcos would also highlight the important role of the UN in finding "transformative solutions" to the challenges the world face today and outline how Manila intends to contribute to these efforts.
'Expanding PH-US trade ties'
Apart from his UNGA speech, Marcos will attend the Philippine Economic Briefing, which is expected to attract institutional investors, senior corporate executives, business analysts, and entrepreneurs.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga said this would serve as an opportunity to outline the Marcos administration's interest to expand and strengthen Philippine-US trade and investment relations.
"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 said.
"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.
Marcos will also meet with companies operating in the country and those with plans to invest during the CEO roundtables, which are designed to project the country as an emerging economy and investment destination in Asia.
"We expect the one-on-one business meetings of the President to focus on priority areas that can be bases for a quick post-pandemic economic recovery and the long-term resilience of the Philippine economy. 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 development, among others," Chan-Gonzaga said.
Marcos will meet with the US Chamber of Commerce, the US-Asean Business Council and the US-Philippines Society.
The country's economic managers and Philippine business leaders are also expected to interact with potential US investors and partners.
Marcos will return to the country on Sept. 24, Cruz-Angeles said. (PNA)