The pursuit of an independent foreign policy by the Philippine government that balances relations with all nations has “proven effective,” President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Monday.
“Our independent foreign policy – a friend to all and enemy of none – has proven effective. We formed strategic alliances with our traditional and newfound partners in the international community,” the President said in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Marcos noted how Manila, through this approach, was able to enhance bilateral ties with both traditional and non-traditional partners.
Apart from sending a message that the Philippines is committed to promoting peace in the region, Marcos said his foreign trips yielded an estimated total investment value of US$71 billion for the Philippines, or Php3.9 trillion, with the potential to generate 175,000 jobs for Filipinos.
“We have embarked on foreign trips to promote the interests of the country, for peace-building, and for mutually beneficial purposes,” he added.
In a span of 10 months, Marcos has already engaged counterparts and sought to enhance bilateral cooperation during his trips to Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Belgium, China, Switzerland, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
In his state visit to Japan alone, Marcos witnessed Tokyo affirming its intention to support the Philippines attain Upper Middle-Income Country status by 2025 through the active contribution of official development assistance (ODA) and private-sector investment of 600 billion yen in Japanese Fiscal Years 2022–2023.
The trip also saw Japan and the Philippines working closer to bolster defense and cooperation, starting with the signing of the terms of reference on the Japan Self-Defense Forces’ humanitarian and disaster relief activities in the country.
With the US, the country established the first bilateral defense guidelines to allow Manila and Washington to modernize their alliance.
Despite an ongoing maritime row over the South China Sea, the Philippines was also able to compartmentalize and continue engaging China in the economic sphere.
Trade between the two states has reached USD87.73 billion, making China the Philippines’ largest trading partner for seven consecutive years.
Making good on his promise to protect every square inch of Philippine territory, the Marcos administration adopted a policy to publicize maritime incidents in the West Philippine Sea and keep both the public and the international community abreast of Chinese incursions on Philippine waters.
The Philippine government has filed 99 diplomatic protests on China’s continuous activities within its exclusive economic zone.
The administration also created an office for the presidential adviser on the West Philippine Sea, emphasizing the importance of the issues surrounding the area. PND