In line with the former Philippine presidents’ tradition of visiting any Southeast Asian nation for their first foreign trips, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is looking to visit Indonesia or Singapore before paying a visit to other countries, including the United States and China.
In an interview with ABS-CBN Teleradyo on Tuesday (Aug 16), Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez said that Marcos plans to visit Indonesia before his possible trip to New York for the United Nations' General Assembly (UNGA).
"Ang proposed visits niya, uunahin niya yung Indonesia sana. The President is looking at his schedule kung saan siya makakapunta but definitely it will before he goes to New York," Romualdez said.
([Marcos] proposed to visit Indonesia first. The President is looking at his schedule to see where he can go first but definitely, it will come before he goes to New York.)
The envoy, who is also a relative of Marcos, said that Singapore is being considered because of its invitation for Marcos to do a state visit.
He added that the Department of Foreign Affairs is already fixing Marcos’ schedule.
"Yang dalawang bayan na 'yan is already on the table at pinaplano na lang ng DFA kung ano yung appropriate time for him to be able to visit these two ASEAN countries," Romualdez said.
(Those two nations are already on the table, the DFA is just planning for the appropriate time for (Marcos) to visit these two ASEAN countries.)
According to Romualdez, Marcos' participation in the UNGA in New York in September is "more or less confirmed."
"Kinonfirm namin siya sa United Nations. Pero ngayon pa lang, we are actually fixing his schedule kasi maraming invitations si President Marcos to visit many countries. Yung sinabi naman niya, yung UN importante sa atin 'yan. So I think more or less confirmed na yan," the ambassador said.
(We have confirmed his attendance at the United Nations. But right now, we are actually fixing his schedule because President Marcos has a lot of invitations to visit many countries. He said that UN is important to us. So I think it is more or less confirmed.)
The UNGA, the main policy-making assembly of United Nations leaders, will be held in New York, USA in September.
However, Marcos is currently being held in contempt in the US for “contumacious conduct causing direct harm to [a class of human rights victims]” – a judgment he has evaded since 1995, according to the United States District Court and Court of Appeals.
The order, which has already amounted to $353 million as of 2011, has been extended to January 25, 2031.
This means that while Marcos can travel to the UN event, he can only do so “not beyond a certain perimeter” of New York where the UN’s headquarters are located, according to former Philippine ambassador to the US Raul Rabe.
Meanwhile, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman earlier noted that Marcos can travel to the United States without being arrested over the $353-million contempt order.
"Any head of state has the privilege of diplomatic immunity. Lahat ng head of state (All state heads). That's very clear in the world order, so to speak. You always give (that to) a head of state, unless of course he is a persona non grata that has created war crimes, and so forth and so on," Romualdez said.
Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings. The views expressed are her own.
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