MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Saturday expressed confidence that he succeeded in articulating the Philippines' interests and stance on several issues affecting the Asia-Pacific Region.
Marcos, upon his arrival in the country following the conclusion of the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, said it is "gratifying" to express the Philippines' position on certain issues, including climate change, food security, and digitalization.
"We have been able to state our country's position and that is quite gratifying," Marcos said, as he reported the outcomes of his inauguration participation in the APEC meetings.
"In a sense, one of the most important things at least for me, the reason I thought I must attend this conference is one, I have spoken to, I have discussed many issues with all the leaders of our region, of the Asia-Pacific. They now know me. They know what the Philippines' position is on several issues," he added.
Marcos said it is "very encouraging" to know that he and his fellow APEC leaders have identified the "same problems for most of the countries" and the solutions needed to address the present and future challenges.
'Idea of unity'
The APEC fora, Marcos said, were "very useful and productive."
Marcos said the 21 APEC members concurred that the way forward for economic prosperity is to adopt the "idea of unity."
"In other words, we have a consonance of views and analysis on the things that are to be of concerned. Furthermore, the solutions for that are things that we now have formulated," he added.
"This is essentially the idea of unity. We are all in agreement that that concept is important for us to be able to face the future which is going to be rather tumultuous in the next perhaps year," Marcos added.
Marcos also noted that he was able to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the sidelines of the APEC meetings.
He said he had "very fruitful" discussions with the five leaders, citing their commitment to expand their cooperation with the Philippines in several fields.
"I had several bilateral meetings... That was also very useful," Marcos said. "The bilateral meetings that we had, we were able to tackle specifics in terms of relationship between our two countries, where we could help each other. I asked about agriculture. I asked about energy, depending on who we were meeting."
Thai businesses' possible investments
Marcos also reported that he met with Thai business leaders to encourage them to invest in the Philippines.
Marcos held a roundtable discussion with Thai business community and had a separate meeting with Thailand's Siam Cement Group (SCG).
"Some of the bilaterals were with private corporations. We were entertained by private corporations who want to invest in the Philippines. So, those are the things that we have to follow up. We have much to do to play our part in APEC. And we will undertake all that so that we will contribute to the success of this region," he said.
In a Facebook post, the Office of the President (OP) said the SCG briefed Marcos about its existing investments and its future plans for business expansion in the Philippines.
SCG is one of the largest and oldest enterprises in Thailand and Southeast Asia's cement and building materials sector.
Meeting with Filipino community
Marcos was also elated to meet with the Filipino community before returning to the country.
He said it is a "breath of fresh air" to see Filipinos living and working in Thailand.
"Before we left, we of course managed to meet with the Filipino community in Bangkok. We had a very enthusiastic crowd," Marcos said. "After all the serious and very important discussions, it's always a breath of fresh air to spend time with Pinoys (Filipinos) around the world."
Thailand is home to around 30,000 Filipinos, according to the data from the Department of Foreign Affairs. (PNA)