No COVID-19 protocols at Shangri-La Dialogue

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
No COVID-19 protocols at Shangri-La Dialogue
Philippine Ambassador Medardo Antonio Macaraig
Photo credits to the Philippine Embassy

SINGAPORE – Amid the rising cases of new COVID-19 variants here, the Singaporean government has not imposed stricter health protocols for the delegates of this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue – Asia’s biggest defense summit – which President Marcos will address tomorrow.

Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Medardo Antonio Macaraig said except for COVID-19 vaccination, no extra precautions had been imposed on Marcos and the rest of his delegation.

The plane carrying the President touched down at Changi Airport at around 4:52 p.m. yesterday from a two-day state visit in Brunei Darussalam.

While there is a surge in cases due to the new COVID-19 subvariants FLiRT, Macaraig said the situation “is not yet at an alarming level.”

“So, there have been no reported increase in hospitalization cases, there have no increase in deaths,” he said.

Organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the Shangri-La Dialogue brings together defense ministers, military leaders and senior defense officials, as well as business leaders and security experts, from across the Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond to discuss critical security challenges.

Marcos is the first Philippine leader to address the dialogue and the President’s keynote address shows the important role of the Philippines in the region, according to Macaraig.

Marcos is expected to articulate before a global audience the Philippines’ position on defense and diplomacy, and its commitment to a rules-based order and constructive multilateralism amid geopolitical tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.

He said Marcos’ speech tomorrow night is expected to “set the tone” of the discussion during the summit, which runs from May 31 to June 2.

The dialogue tackles among others artificial intelligence, climate change and renewable energy, which could affect defense policies, Macaraig said.

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