WARM WELCOME. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is warmly welcomed by overseas Filipino workers at Fairmont Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia on Sept. 4, 2022. The Philippines pushed to reinvigorate its relations with bilateral and multilateral partners in the first 100 days of the Marcos administration, staying on track with the chief executive's "friend to all, enemy to none" policy. (Photo courtesy of BBM Facebook page)

MANILA – The Philippines pushed to reinvigorate its relations with bilateral and multilateral partners in the first 100 days of the Marcos administration, staying on track with the chief executive's "friend to all, enemy to none" policy.

"The Philippines' active engagement in international cooperation fora such as the UN (United Nations) and Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and our continued efforts to forge strategic partnerships demonstrates our belief that a collaborative approach is instrumental in enabling the country to realize our national ambitions while at the same time to rise above pressing global challenges such as poverty, hunger, and climate change, the digital divide, inequalities, rule of law, international peace and security, among others," Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

In September 2022, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. made his international debut at the 77th UN General Assembly in the United States, where he reiterated that the Philippines "shall continue to be a friend to all, and an enemy of none."

Daza said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is also working on the Philippines' participation in the 40th-41st Asean Summits and Related Meetings in Cambodia and in the APEC Economic Leaders Week Meetings in Thailand in November.

Beyond multilateral engagements, the Philippine government within the last 100 days has also signed the following bilateral agreements with Indonesia and Singapore:

-- Plan of Action with Indonesia
-- Agreement with Indonesia on Cooperative Activities in the Field of Defense and Security (DSCA)
-- Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cultural Cooperation between the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia
-- MOU for Cooperation in the Development and Promotion of the Creative Economy with Indonesia
-- Arrangement concerning the Assignment of a Team to the Regional Counter-Terrorism Information Facility (CTIF)
-- MOU between the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and Enterprise Singapore
-- MOU on digital cooperation between the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the Ministry of Communications and Information of Singapore
-- Joint Communiqué on the recruitment of Filipino healthcare workers with Singapore
-- Renewal of MOU with Singapore on Cooperation in Personal Data Protection
-- Renewal of MOU between Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and Public Utilities Board
-- Signing of the Principles and Guidelines on the Delimitation of the Continental Shelf Boundary between the Philippines and Indonesia
-- MOU on the Employment of Filipino Nurses with Alberta, Canada

Over the past three months, Daza said the DFA further reinforced Marcos' "friend to all" policy through the "consistent assertion of our interests in the West Philippine Sea on the basis of respect for the international rules-based order, and the rule of law, as the foundation of peace and cooperation in the world."

To recall, the DFA firmly asserted the 2016 Arbitral Ruling as one of the anchors of Philippine policy and actions on the West Philippine Sea.

Aside from reinvigorating relations, the DFA has upgraded its consular services, combatted trafficking in persons, facilitated Covid-19 assistance, and continued repatriation and assistance to nationals efforts, among others.

Repatriation continued with over 700 overseas Filipinos repatriated from Kuwait and Sri Lanka, one distressed Filipino seafarer on board an abandoned vessel from Iran, and 750 Filipinos who have been transferred from Sabah since July 1 this year.

The Philippine Embassy in Dhaka has also distributed USD300 per person as financial assistance to 500 Filipinos in Sri Lanka in August 2022.

Among the beneficiaries are 92 overseas Filipino workers, some of whom stand to lose their jobs due to the economic crisis, and the majority are spouses of Sri Lankan nationals. (PNA)