MANILA — President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. returned home on Monday night after his “very productive” six-day trip to the United States (US) where he was able to reap USD670 million in investment pledges.
In his arrival statement, Marcos said the investment commitments from US companies are expected to open job opportunities to thousands of Filipinos.
“Altogether, we return to the Philippines with more or less USD670 million in investment pledges that have the potential to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Filipinos within our country,” Marcos said in a speech delivered at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
“We look forward to seeing more of these partnerships materialize in the months ahead,” he added.
Marcos participated in the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Leaders’ (APEC) Meeting in San Francisco, California and embarked on working visits to Los Angeles, California and Honolulu, Hawaii.
He arrived in Manila at around 9:44 p.m., Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a statement.
Marcos also announced the scheduled visit of the high-level US Presidential Trade and Investment Mission in March 2024 and the Philippines’ co-hosting of the 2024 Indo-Pacific Business Forum.
“Just as an explanation, the high-level business delegation that is coming is a delegation that was formed by (US) President (Joe) Biden himself and upon the request of the Philippines to explore the different opportunities for investment and for operations here in the Philippines, especially in the targeted sectors that we have been speaking about,” he said.
“And this is in fact a new feature as there has never been a presidential high-level delegation to any country before and that is again because of our continuing strong partnership with the United States.”
Marcos noted that the “123” nuclear cooperation agreement and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework supply chain agreement were among the deals signed during his trip to the US.
He also said his meeting with US companies that are interested to enter Philippine markets resulted in the signing of five agreements on clean energy, healthcare, pharmaceutical, internet connectivity and climate technology.
“So, I look forward to the continuing collaboration between our agencies and these companies as we adapt to emerging technologies such as generative AI to ensure that our regulatory framework and workforce development programs are responsive,” Marcos said.
During his attendance to the APEC summit, Marcos said he pushed for the Philippines’ priorities in clean, renewable, and just, and accessible, affordable energy; food security; health systems; digitalization of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs); and regional cooperation on climate action.
Marcos said he also had separate bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Peruvian President Dina Ercilia Bolurte Zegera, US Vice President Kamala Harris, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and US Indo-Pacific Command commander Adm. John Aquilino on the sidelines of his APEC participation.
“Our discussions were of course very productive, with innovation, resilience, sustainability, and inclusiveness as cross-cutting themes that are buttressed by our commitment to further strengthening cooperation and to address challenges that are common to all our economies both economic challenges and security challenges,” he said.
He said his US trip would not have been complete without engaging with the Filipino communities in the three US cities he visited, adding that he had a “great pleasure” meeting them.
Before returning to the Philippines, Marcos said he shared his aspirations to give the Philippines as “peaceful and prosperous future”, securing the peace in the West Philippine Sea and securing strategic sectors and critical infrastructures.
“Despite the evolving and complex challenges, my message was one of optimism—that together with the US, our oldest and only treaty ally, and our growing network of other partners, we will be able to bring peace, stability, [and] prosperity to the Indo-Pacific Region, as long as our partnerships are based on mutual trust and respect for one another as sovereign equals and that our actions are anchored in international law, including the UNCLOS [United Nations Convention on the Law of thr Sea] and the 2016 Arbitral Award,” Marcos said. (PNA)