President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. plans to hold several bilateral meetings with other heads of state on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.
In an online media forum Monday, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said Marcos is preparing a speech for the event as preparations are ongoing for his trip.
Romualdez revealed that several bilateral meetings have been lined up for Marcos but did not say if a side meeting with US President Joe Biden is included.
“This is the first time that he will be addressing the UN—which is basically introducing himself to the world and the western world, specially, and secondly, to have economic meetings that will bring him investments to the Philippines,” Romualdez said.
The Filipino ambassador earlier said that he prefers a separate inaugural bilateral summit between Marcos Jr. and Biden in Washington D.C. at a mutually agreed date sometime this year.
Romualdez said Marcos has already drafted his speech, which he will deliver before the UN General Assembly.
“I think the President is preparing his speech. He’s had an outline about a month from now,” he said.
Romualdez also said that Marcos will likely address questions on human rights issues on the Philippines, particularly the violent drug war by his predecessor, former President Rodrigo Duterte.
“I’m sure there will be questions asked about that, but I think he has already made it clear that in his pronouncement in the PNP (Philippine National Police) that he would like to continue the operations against illegal drug activities following the rule of law,” he noted.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands has been investigating the allegations of extrajudicial killings in the anti-illegal drugs campaign of Duterte.
In September 2021, the ICC authorized the start of the investigation into the killings but, in November 2021, the ICC prosecutor suspended the probe upon the request of the Philippine government.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Khan in June 2022 requested to resume the investigation, and, in July 2022, the tribunal invited the Philippines to provide observations on the prosecutor’s request to reopen the probe into the killings.
The ICC gave the Philippines until September 8, 2022, to provide any observations on the planned reopening of the investigation.
“This government of Marcos has clearly set out the rule of what police officers would have to do following the rule of law and making use of using restraint,” Romualdez said.
According to him, while in the US, Marcos is also scheduled to meet with various American business groups and investors who would like to expand operations in the Philippines.
“His main thrust in relations with other countries is to have more economic activity so we planned out to have several meetings with business councils and several groups and also individual meetings with potential companies that would like to invest or already invested in the Philippines,” Romualdez said.
“This is the first time he will be addressing the United Nations, which is basically introducing himself to the world in the Western world, especially and, and secondly, to have more economic business meetings that will bring in investments into the Philippines,” he said.
Marcos’ main thrust in relationships with other countries, especially with the United States, is to have more economic activity, he added.
Romualdez said several meetings have been planned between Marcos and business councils and potential companies that would like to invest or expand their business operations in the country.
When asked if Marcos will address human rights issues raised by groups in the US, Romualdez said the President made it clear that he would like the Philippine National Police to continue the operations against illegal drug activities.
“But at the same time, following the rule of law, which is very important. We all know that this is part of the contentious issues that have been raised against the Philippines,” he said.
“This government of President Marcos is clearly set out the role that our police officers would have to do, following the rule of law and making sure using restraint,” Romualdez said. “And if I might add, I think that the other thing that he also would like to implement very strongly is to have more rehabilitation areas.”