MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. left for the United States on Sunday to attend the 77th United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
It will be his first engagement with the International body, and his first visit to the US since becoming the country's leader.
"The UN is where the countries of the world congregate to discuss the most pressing challenges facing our people. Thus, it is important for us to participate in the general assembly and to make certain that our voice is heard," Marcos said in his departure speech.
"I'll be delivering our national statement on the 20th of September in which I will outline our expectations of the United Nations and the work ahead, the role our country will play and our contributions to strengthening the international system," he added.
Citing the theme of the 77th UNGA, Marcos said he will "share the Philippines’ vision in people-centered development" and highlight his "administration’s thrust for economic recovery, food security, and agricultural productivity."
"We affirm the country’s commitment to the ideals of the UN, citing its contributions to peaceful settlement of disputes and of international law and the highlighting the importance of the UN in fostering international dialogue and cooperation," he said.
Marcos said he will meet UN Secretary General António Guterres and “leaders of long-standing and important partners of the Philippines” on the sideline of the UNGA" in New York.
“I will discuss with them opportunities for stronger cooperation in food security, agriculture, renewable energy, and climate change which are among the key priorities of this administration,” he said.
He will take part as well in business meetings, which will be participated by private sector representatives, "to forge more partnerships to advance our national economic and sustainable development in general."
As well, he will have an engagement with the Filipino community there, he said.
"I am told our kababayans as far as from Canada will participate in this gathering. It will be my chance to thank them for their support, affirm their important role in the continuing work of nation-building and strengthen our cooperation on matters that redound to the benefit of Filipinos here at home and abroad," said Marcos.
Among those who attended the pre-departure ceremony at the NAIA Terminal 2 in Pasay City were Vice President Sara Duterte and First Lady Louise "Liza" Marcos.
This is Marcos' third official trip abroad since assuming the presidency last June.
Earlier this month, Marcos also visited Indonesia and Singapore for a series of state visits there.
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles earlier said that the Marcos family's $353-million contempt order in the US over a human rights case with Martial Law victims "is not part of the agenda (in his US trip) as we can see."
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Shernan said in June that heads of state have diplomatic immunity, allowing the President to go to the US without being arrested.
Marcos departs New York on Sept. 24.
— with report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News