MANILA— The Australian ambassador to the Philippines on Tuesday said the visit of presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to Australia was a private trip.
Ambassador Steven Robinson, during an event hosted by the Australian Embassy in Makati City, said that they had no knowledge of Marcos Jr.'s itinerary.
Since it is a private trip, the embassy also offered no special accommodation or arrangements for Marcos Jr.
"The presumptive president decided to go who's in need of a vacation, in no way official, no way formal. He just decided to go and good luck to him," Robinson said.
"He's on a private trip. As far as I'm aware, there's no accommodation sorted. We never had any part in there."
Marcos Jr.'s spokesperson Vic Rodriguez earlier confirmed the incoming chief executive of the Philippines is in Australia with his family for a "private trip" and a "much-needed rest" after the campaign and the elections.
Marcos Jr. is expected to return to the Philippines on Thursday, Rodriguez said.
Some Filipinos in Australia protested in front of the apartment where Marcos Jr. is believed to be staying, with some urging him to pay his taxes.
Meanwhile, more Australian investors are coming to the Philippines, Robinson said.
The ambassador, who is about to end his tenure in 2 months, said the Philippines has become a good haven for foreign investors due to the economic reforms that have been initiated.
He said there will be more Australian investments in the Philippines, regardless of who won the elections.
"I've seen a lot of Australian businesses who have never come to the Philippines before now seeking to come here to invest," he said. "The reason for that is very clear—that they see the Philippines as a very fine ground for investment, that the Philippines has made a range of reforms in recent times that set the platform for future development, and that the trajectory of the Philippine should remain strong."
He is also optimistic that the partnership between the Philippines and Australia will flourish even further in the next years to come, particularly in trade and investment, defense partnership, bilateral assistance, and people-to-people links.
"The relationship between Australia and the Philippines is on a very positive trajectory and I don't seen any change to that," Robinson said.
He urged his successor to continue strengthening this partnership with the Philippines, which is among the longest diplomatic partners of Australia.
Robinson also called on the next envoy to travel around the Philippines and interact with Filipinos on the ground to begin to understand the country.
"NCR (Metro Manila) is not the Philippines. Do not stay in the NCR. Get out of NCR as often as you can."
Robinson has been ambassador to the Philippines for three years and has visited over 50 out of 81 provinces. He said might have visited all if not for the pandemic.