MANILA: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. arrived in Indonesia on Sunday, where he will meet his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo to strengthen security ties and discuss issues confronting the region.
Marcos’ three-day visit is his first overseas trip since taking office in June. He and Widodo are scheduled to meet on Monday, when the two will also witness the signing of various bilateral agreements, including the renewal of an expired 1997 pact governing defense activities, from joint training to cooperation on border security.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi will be signing a five-year plan of action, Marcos said, which “commits our two countries to projects and activities covering the full range of our bilateral ties.”
“This [trip] is to once again put the Philippines in a position where we have strong alliances and strong partnerships, which are necessary for us to come out of the post-pandemic economy,” Marcos said ahead of his flight to Jakarta.
“We will reaffirm our ties with fellow archipelagic nation and ASEAN co-founder, Indonesia, with whom we share an extensive maritime border in the south of the Philippines.”
Manila will also be seeking Indonesian investments in agriculture and energy, which are priority sectors for the Marcos administration.
Marcos will then visit Singapore for the second leg of his foreign trip, where he will meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Halimah Yacob to discuss bilateral trade and investment.
Singapore is the Philippines’ top investor and trading partner in Southeast Asia, with bilateral trade valued at more than $11 billion in 2021.
The two countries are expected to sign accords on counterterrorism and data protection and privacy during Marcos’ visit to the city-state.
“I expect that we will be coming back with a harvest of business deals to be signed in my state visits that will further strengthen our economic ties with both Indonesia and Singapore,” Marcos said.
The Philippine leader is also expected to discuss regional issues as part of his visit to both countries, including territorial disputes in the South China Sea as well as the turmoil in Myanmar.