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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

‘No backing down from challenges’—PBBM

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Marcos heads to Washington for tri-summit

As the nation marked the Day of Valor, President Marcos on Tuesday said the Philippines “must not back down from challenges that seek to threaten its peace, honor, and very existence.”

Marcos made the statement during the 82nd Commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan at the Mt. Samat Shrine in Pilar, Bataan, where he called on Filipinos to stand against oppression amid current challenges that threaten the country within its territory.

The Day of Valor commemorates the heroism and sacrifice of Filipinos who fought in the Battle of Bataan during World War II.

Meanwhile, the President is set to fly to Washington today (Wednesday) to participate in the historic trilateral leaders’ summit between the Philippines, Japan, and the United States.

Mr. Marcos will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and US President Joe Biden to further deepen the existing alliances and economic cooperation between the three countries.

In his speech in Bataan, the President mentioned the “clear and present threats to the country’s sovereign rights,” which he said have caused physical harm to Filipinos.

“These are not acceptable. These are not reasonable or just, especially in this era of peaceful diplomacy between nations,” he said in Filipino.

While the President did not elaborate on these threats, his statement comes amid growing concern over China’s continued aggression against local vessels in the West Philippine Sea, the most recent of which led to the injuries of several Filipino naval personnel.

Japanese Ambassador Endo Kazuya renewed a commitment that Japan will never allow the devastation of war to be repeated again.

“We, the Japanese people, are determined to never allow the devastation of war to be repeated ever again for the sake of present and future generations,” the envoy said in his speech in Bataan.

President Marcos said Filipinos should seek inspiration and learn from the heroism and sacrifice of the nation’s war heroes by not allowing themselves to yield to these challenges.

“May the events of 1942 and our victory in 1945 serve as an inspiration to all of us, and also to our youth and our future generations,” he said.

“As our great forefathers observed, we should not allow ourselves to be subjugated and oppressed, especially within our own backyard. May we be able to source it with an outer consciousness, courage, and strength of character. Above all, may it continue to strengthen our unity and our nationalism,” Mr. Marcos added.

The President also directed the Department of National Defense, Department of Budget and Management, and the Department of Finance to look at the existing separation benefits of soldiers who incurred total permanent disability in the line of duty (see related story – Editors).

This is to see, he said, whether these benefits “are commensurate to [the] sacrifices they have made.”

Marcos also ordered the defense department and the military “to assess and submit a report on the responsiveness of the current inventory of military supplies and equipment.”

Meanwhile, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Messrs. Marcos, Biden and Kishida will discuss the recent incidents in the West Philippine Sea and are expected to issue a joint vision statement on the ongoing tension in the Indo-Pacific region.

The discussion between the three parties is meant to be a forward-looking document that outlines common principles guiding the trilateral partnership and offers various areas and projects for cooperation.

The DFA stated that Mr. Marcos would also continue to push for peace and stability in the region while promoting international rules-based order in the region.

Moreover, the President will also have separate bilateral meetings with Kishida and Biden at the sidelines of the three leaders’ summit.

DFA also noted that the three leaders are set to talk about their shared vision for the Indo-Pacific Region and probe ways to boost trilateral cooperation in different areas of mutual interest, such as inclusive economic growth.

The meeting also seeks to advance critical and emerging technologies, collaborate on climate change, ensure clean energy supply chains, and work towards peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region.

President Marcos will also meet with several business leaders during his stay in the US.

Kazuya also reaffirmed his country’s commitment to maintain and strengthen the rule-based international and maritime order, which “we have protected together for decades,” amid current international conflicts such as those in Ukraine, Middle East, as well as the complex security environment in the Indo-Pacific Region.

“Our trilateral cooperation with the Philippines and the United States serves as a symbol as a shared commitment to promote a free and open international order based on the rule of law,” the diplomat said.

According to him, Japan is looking forward to the historic and first-ever Japan-Philippines-US summit meeting this week in Washington which serves as a testament in further strengthening trilateral cooperation with the two countries.

Japan said it is committed that it will continuously work towards steadily materializing cooperative efforts in the areas of defense, strategic infrastructure, cyber, economic security, and energy.

“Let us seize this moment to reaffirm our commitment as strategic partners and ally and friends in building a future preserving the peace and prosperity in the region. I believe that this is the best tribute we can offer to the souls of those who passed away in the fighting that took place here 82 years ago,” Kazuya said.

“I assure you all that Japan and the Philippines will continue to cooperate fully in ensuring greater progress and prosperity for nations and the world at large in times of both crisis and prosperity,” he added.

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