President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. left for Indonesia and Singapore on Sunday to embark on his first state visits as president, seeking to strengthen economic and political ties with ASEAN neighbors.
Vice President Sara Duterte has been designated as officer-in-charge to take over Marcos' functions as he holds his state visits to Indonesia and Singapore, Malacañang said.
Marcos will be in Jakarta from Sept. 4 to 6, where he will meet with his Indonesian counterpart, Joko Widodo, to discuss the bilateral relationship of the two countries and sign several agreements concerning defense and security, creative economy, and culture.
READ: How Bongbong Marcos Plans to Tame Inflation
"Indonesia has been our ally and one of our closest bilateral partners for the past seven decades. And beyond that, the cultural ties and the geographical affinities that we enjoy have always been part of our relationship with Indonesia," Marcos said in his pre-departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
"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," he added.
Marcos will then fly to Singapore for another state visit from Sept. 6 to 7 where he will meet with Singaporean President Halimah Yacob. Along with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, they will discuss regional and global issues and explore options for stronger economic ties, Marcos said.
"Singapore has become the Philippines’ top trading partner in ASEAN and the top source of approved investments in 2021," he said.
"Our economic cooperation with Singapore has grown by leaps and bounds for the past half-century, and more opportunities are just waiting to be tapped by both sides," he added.
While in Indonesia and Singapore, Marcos said he will also meet with overseas Filipino workers to express his appreciation of their contributions to the country.
Marcos is also expected to fly to the United States this month to speak at the United Nations General Assembly.
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