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Marcos Jr. seen to address UNGA in September

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Marcos Jr. seen to address UNGA in September
A general view shows a slogan on a wall before the United Nations (UN) building in New York on March 24, 2022.
AFP / Ed Jones

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is expected to speak at the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York this September.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez said Marcos Jr. is already on the UNGA speakers’ list. He will be one of the heads of state to address the General Debate on September 20

“There are many people who are very eager to listen to him. From what I’m told, we have several heads of state who have asked to have a meeting with President Marcos,” Romualdez said in a televised interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel’s “Headstart” on Monday.

Over the weekend, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said he and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken are trying to arrange a meeting between Marcos Jr. and US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the UNGA.

While Marcos Jr. has yet to formally announce this trip himself, the country’s former top diplomat Teodoro Locsin Jr. reportedly gave instructions to already “make reservations” even before Marcos Jr. formally became president since the speakers’ list follows a first come, first serve basis.

Romualdez also said Manalo has recommended the chief executive attend the assembly. 

“The clear message that we want to give to the world is that we are part of a community that would like to contribute to world peace and economic prosperity for everyone,” Romualdez said.

The UNGA is seen as an opportunity for the Philippines to convey that it is ready to “play a major role in the global community.”

“It’s going to be something that’s very important for the country and I know that President Marcos has been preparing for this, he has already put together a sketch already, an outline for his speech,” Romualdez said, adding that he usually asks his Cabinet members for input.

He said Marcos Jr. will discuss how the global community can further work together and collaborate in recovering from the pandemic but it remains unclear if he would discuss matters that concern national security, such as the West Philippine Sea dispute.

Vaccination was sped up by multiple initiatives such as the COVAX, which is co-led by the UN-backed World Health Organization. Over 12.006 billion vaccine doses have been administered so far, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Tracker

However, economies have yet to fully recover from the pandemic. A March study by the Asian Development Bank showed that COVID-19 pushed 4.7 million people in Southeast Asia into extreme poverty in 2021 after over nine million jobs disappeared because of the pandemic.

It also warned that the economic growth of the region could slow down because of virus mutations, but noted that investments in the health sector and widespread technology adoption, among others, could help countries in the region bounce back. — Kaycee Valmonte

BONGBONG MARCOS

UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

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