PBBM to push for food, energy, health, digital ties in US APEC summit

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

November 7, 2023, 8:13 pm

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.</span> <em>(File photo)</em></p>

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. will persuade his fellow Asia-Pacific leaders to step up the region’s food, energy, health and digital partnerships, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

This, as DFA Undersecretary Charles Jose confirmed Marcos’ participation in the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in San Francisco, California in the United States (US) on Nov. 15 to 17.

In a pre-departure briefing with Palace reporters, Jose said Marcos would push for financing a “just, sustainable and affordable” energy transition through partnerships with the business sector.

“He (Marcos) will emphasize the need to invest more on clean energy to preserve and protect the environment while ensuring that we are energy secure and sufficient,” Jose said.

Jose said Marcos would also call for “deeper” cooperation on health to modernize healthcare systems and protect the welfare of medical professionals, taking into consideration the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the digital participation of micro, small and medium enterprises in the Philippines would also be raised by Marcos, as part of the current administration’s digitalization efforts.

“The President will also touch on digitalization and innovation, given that digital transformation is already upon us and how we can best prepare our workforce and the larger human resource,” he said.

“The President will continue to push for cooperation in food security particularly focusing on research and development, innovation and equity and inclusivity so as to benefit our small farmers and in climate action, given the urgent need to be resilient to climate change,” Jose added.

Jose said this year’s APEC theme “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All” is aligned with the Marcos administration’s economic agenda, the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2027, and eight-point socioeconomic agenda.

The summit brings together 21 economies from around the Asia-Pacific to collaborate on the shared goal of creating a more open, resilient, sustainable and peaceful future for the people of the world’s most dynamic region.

The APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam.

Business, bilateral meetings

Jose said Marcos would also attend the APEC CEO Summit and the APEC Leaders Dialogue with the APEC Business Advisory Council; lead a Philippine Economic Briefing; meet with top companies in the US; and hold bilateral meetings with other world leaders on the sidelines of the summit.

However, Jose could not confirm yet any of the bilateral meetings due to “schedules and logistical considerations.”

Additional working visits

Marcos would likewise embark on working visits to Los Angeles, California and Honolulu, Hawaii and meet with Filipino communities.

Marcos would leave for San Francisco on Nov. 17 and fly to Honolulu on Nov. 18 for a security briefing with the US Indo-Pacific Command, according to Jose.

“The President is being invited to visit the Indo-Pacific Command. And he will also have a roundtable discussion with the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies,” Jose said, referring to the institution that provides a forum for military and civilian leaders from the Indo-Pacific to address regional and global security.

Well, of course it adds a layer to the cooperation that we are trying to establish with like-minded states in order to promote what we have been advocating all along -- a rules-based order especially in the maritime areas,” he added. (PNA)