Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairperson Imee Marcos last week said that while the Philippines is committed to a strong alliance with the United States, it will not stop the country from engaging with China.
Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C., Senator Marcos said that the Philippines, as well as its Southeast Asian neighbors, are calling for a "rational approach" in its relationship with the US and China.
"Do not let us chose between the US and China," said Marcos at the roundtable forum, where representatives from leading think tanks, embassies, companies, and universities were present.
She also unveiled her seven-point plan for the Philippines' foreign policy and future legislation, which includes plans to expand engagement with Beijing through confidence-building measures, joint exploration and development, and finalizing a code of conduct in the South China Sea.
Marcos said that top of the plan is to "re-examine, not revise" the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and to assess the delivery of development aid under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
The plan also calls for increased military assistance and support for local defense contractors, as well as a more in-depth study of the consequences of regional multilateral defense agreements such as the AUKUS, a defense alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom and the US, and the QUAD alliance of Japan, Australia, US and India.
Furthermore, the plan seeks new trade opportunities in deep-sea fishing and production and export of Philippine metals and semiconductor chiefs via "Green Metals initiative" and cooperation under the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act of 2022.
Separately, Marcos thanked the United States Agency for International Development and the US-Philippines Society for their assistance in disaster relief and recovery.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.