IMPRESSIVE President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic leaders’ informal dialogue.  Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said the president made a very good impression during the summit. (Photo courtesy of Bongbong Marcos Facebook page) 

MANILA – Former President now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo believes President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. made a “good impression” in his first participation at the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand.

In a press statement on Sunday, Malacañang said Macapagal-Arroyo was satisfied with Marcos’ performance speaking before more than half of the world’s economies.

“...He certainly made a very good impression on the leaders of the very important economies. And not only the very important economies but also the great economic thinkers of the world," Arroyo was quoted as saying.

Marcos earlier described Macapagal-Arroyo as his "secret weapon" during his meeting with the Filipino community in Thailand at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Bangkok on Saturday.

He personally invited Macapagal-Arroyo to accompany him during the APEC Summit, noting that her experiences and insights were valuable.

“Sinasabi kong secret weapon dahil ako ‘yung baguhan dito eh. Ako ‘yung bagong naging lider. Kaya’t ‘pag papasok kami sa meeting, noong nakita si GMA (I say secret weapon because I’m the newbie here. I’m the new leader. That’s why when we started the meeting and they’d see GMA, they’d say), ‘Ah my good friend! My good friend!; Oh madali na kaagad ‘yung usapan (Then it would be easy to start talking to them),” he said.

Highly successful

Meanwhile, Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople described Marcos’ first APEC as “highly successful.”

She said he developed a good rapport with other economic leaders he met, particularly Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, describing their exchanges as “very relaxed, very uplifting.”

“...Makikita mo na both sides excited mag-engage, and lalo na noong nakausap na niya ‘yung Crown Prince, si His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman o MBS kung tawagin siya sa Saudi Arabia (You would see that both sides were excited to engage, especially when he spoke to the Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia),” Ople said.

Marcos and the Crown Prince had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the APEC Summit.

“Makikita mo pag-upo pa lang nila parang magkaibigan na nagkatagpo, nagkuwentuhan, parehong forward-looking, parehong visionary, at parehong proud sa mga Pilipino. Parang ‘yun din ‘yung kanilang naging common ground (The moment they sat down they seemed like friends who have reunited, telling stories, both forward-looking, both visionaries, and both proud of Filipinos. That was their common ground),” Ople added.

During the bilateral meeting between the two leaders, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia committed to shoulder the unpaid wages of around 10,000 Filipino workers who were displaced from its construction companies that went bankrupt.

Marcos said there was also an assurance from the Saudi Ministry of Labor that there will be no more unpaid salaries among Filipinos in the Middle Eastern country.

The two leaders also talked about energy and petroleum amid the prevailing oil crisis.

Marcos’ attendance at APEC, which was held from Nov. 16-19, was his first time as the country’s president.

He returned to the Philippines on Sunday, capping what he described as a "successful" APEC Summit with "substantive" bilateral meetings with his counterparts in other countries. (PNA)