Filipino ambassadors should look continuously for so-called “non-traditional” partners in terms of trade, security, and defense requirements of the country, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Wednesday.
Meeting with the recently appointed chiefs of mission and ambassadors in Malacañang, the President urged them that with the current global situation amid the “pandemic economy” that altered the dynamics of world dealings, the Philippines must cope with the changing times and not be left behind.
“We are constantly now — after all the changes that have been imposed upon us, like the pandemic economy and the world situation, looking for what we sometimes referred to as non-traditional partners in trades, of any kind, in security and defense issues. (For) all these things, we are always looking for partners,” the Chief Executive told the diplomats.
Present during the meeting with the President were Chief of Mission Carlos Deymek Sorreta, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; Ambassadors Henry Sicad Bensurto Jr. (Republic of Turkiye), Renato Pedro Oabel Villa (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Raul Salavarria Hernandez (Sultanate of Oman), Paul Raymund Pasion Cortez (Portuguese Republic), Joel Francisco Ignacio (Republic of India), and Maria Angela Abrera Ponce (Malaysia).
The President, however, pointed out his administration remains neutral in terms of foreign policy, not siding with the views of any other country.
“We do not subscribe to any notion of a bipolar world. We only side, of course, to the Philippines, not to the US, not to Beijing, not to Moscow. That’s very much being independent in what we do,” Mr. Marcos said.
Mr. Marcos also urged the envoys to explore and discuss with him some opportunities or undertakings that might be substantially beneficial to the country and to Filipinos.
“I’m sure you have heard that we are prioritizing agriculture, energy, all the infrastructure development, and digitalization. Now, if there are opportunities that would come up, you should explore them and if they’re promising enough, then we’ll take it up,” the President said.
“We’ll try to see if something can come up. There’s no harm in trying and whatever happens, at least we tried,” he said.
“So let us keep looking at those areas. And also, what I found out many times, you go there and you talk about agriculture and something else comes up.”