MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr is set to travel to Brussels, Belgium next week to attend the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed Friday.
DFA Office of ASEAN Affairs Assistant Secretary Daniel Espiritu said the President’s trip will be from December 12 to 14, and will mark 45 years of ASEAN-EU relations.
“This is very important for the Philippines and for the President because the Philippines is currently the country coordinator of ASEAN in its relations with the EU. For two more years we will be the country coordinator,” Espiritu said.
“We lead ASEAN in the preparations in this summit, so the role of President is very important in this regard.”
Marcos is expected to have several speaking engagements during the Summit, which will formally open on December 14, Espiritu said.
These includes delivering the opening and closing remarks of the Summit and “an omnibus intervention as a country head of the delegate of the Republic of the Philippines.”
Marcos will be among the four ASEAN and EU officials to participate in the press conference following the closing of the Summit, he said.
Meanwhile, the President during the plenary of the Summit is expected to discuss the priorities and concerns not only of the Philippines, but of the ASEAN region as well, Espiritu said.
“But for the Philippines, the most important issues will be most yung post pandemic recovery, not only public health recovery, but also in terms of economic recovery. So dyan papasok ang issues of energy and food security, addressing disruption in the supply chain,” he said.
“And then of course maritime security, digital economy and digital transformation, because that is the way of the future na nakita noon noong nagkaroon ng pandemic, we have been adopting e-commerce, e-delivery, and the like, which is a new area of expansion for our economy, and also climate action, and biodiversity management and conservation.”
Espiritu says the concerns of Filipino seafarers will also be taken up during President Marcos Jr's attendance to the Summit, amid reports of a possible EU ban.
Meanwhile Marcos Jr is also expected to hold around 10 bilateral meetings with Belgium, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands, and the European Union, Espiritu said.
Outside of the Summit, Marcos Jr will also be holding meetings with the European corporations, who are looking to expand their operations in the Philippines. Among these businesses are: 1) Unilever, which is planning to build a state-of-the art manufacturing facility for personnel care products in Cavite, and expand investments to P4.7 Billion; 2) Ocea, a ship building and navigation and logistics company which intends to invest P1.5 Billion in a shipyard in the country; 3) Acciona, an infrastructure and renewable energy company, and 4) Simaris (??), a wholesale market and international logistics hub management company intending to develop an agro-logistics facility at the New Clark City.
“There will be business round table with EU and European corporations during which the President will have the opportunity to expound on our trade and investment policies to attract trad eand investments from Europe. Then kasama rin din ang networking among Filipino businessmen and European businessmen,” Espiritu said.
“On the 13th of December, there will be a further meeting with the business sector but this time with ASEAN and EU themselves, within the framework of ASEAN-EU dialogue partnership relations. the President on December 14 noontime will participate at the CEO Suite luncheon for the EU-Asean business summit, where he is expected to speak. He will also participate in the 10th ASEAN-EU business summit proper itself, where again he will be expected to deliver his remarks.”
Marcos Jr will also hold a meeting with the Filipino community in Brussels. According to the DFA, there are over 5,600 Filipinos currently residing in Belgium, the official said.
So this will be a very busy trip for the President and we hope that this will redound to a lot of benefits for the Filipino people not only for ASEAN.