The only direction to take is the right one

BABE’S EYE VIEW FROM WASHINGTON D.C. - Ambassador B. Romualdez - The Philippine Star

Highly motivated to do good, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. continues to enjoy high satisfaction ratings with the latest survey released recently by the OCTA Research Group. Results from the “Tugon ng Masa” Oct. 23-27 OCTA survey showed that 86 percent of the respondents trust the President, while 78 percent said they are satisfied with his performance.

In his first 100 days in office, several groups came out with their own assessments and surveys, including the one conducted by Catholic-run Radyo Veritas that said the President performed well. The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry gave the president a rating of 8 out of 10, saying they appreciate his efforts to prop up the economy and put the country on the global radar.

In the face-to-face survey conducted by Pulse Asia from Sept.17 to 21, the administration received majority approval ratings on 11 out of the 13 issues in the nationwide survey, particularly on responding to the needs of calamity-hit areas and controlling the spread of COVID-19. Respondents also gave majority approval ratings on protecting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers, fighting graft and corruption in government, and defending the country’s territorial integrity.

When one’s motivation in office is focused on doing right – it can only point to one direction: the right direction. Obviously, the President continues to be very popular among Filipinos, but if the OCTA survey is any indication, it would seem that many are getting to appreciate him even more as they get to know him better. They see him going in the right direction when it comes to issues that matter to the Filipino people, among them food security, lowering energy costs and asserting our territorial rights.

Aside from strengthening our relationship with the United States, the President’s instructions to me were to have more economic engagement with the US. Which is why we continue to organize and host economic briefings between the government’s economic team and American business groups and investors to showcase the promising sectors for investment that include IT-BPM and renewable energy.

We are now seriously looking into nuclear energy to supply the country’s growing electricity requirements. Nuclear energy is one of the cleanest, and technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, with new safeguards put in place to prevent accidents from happening. One of the most advanced and revolutionary are small modular reactors that are portable, as they can be built in a factory and transported to a designated site for final assembly and installation.

Even during the elections, foreign policy has also been a hot button issue and continues to be so to this day. Ninety percent of Filipinos are pleased to see the President taking the right foreign policy direction in our relationship with two major powers – the US and China.

While there are still a few naysayers concerning our relationship with the United States, there is no denying that it remains to be a very strong anchor of our foreign policy direction. As President Marcos himself said, he cannot envision the Philippines in the future without having the US as a partner.

With regard to the West Philippine Sea, his statement is unequivocal: We have no conflict with China; the issue we have is that China is claiming territory that belongs to us. No doubt the President’s state visit to China early next year will be crucial.

While some continue to take issue about the President’s foreign trips, the reality is that the world is getting smaller and trips are a necessary tool in conducting foreign policy. Face-to-face interactions are important for leaders to discuss issues and concerns that are mutually beneficial to their respective nations, and President Marcos is keen to reach out to many nations to advance our national interest.

For instance, his forthcoming trip to Brussels for the ASEAN-EU summit offers a great opportunity to discuss a free trade agreement with the European bloc. The Philippines is the co-chair for the summit, which is why it is a must for the President to attend. As noted by European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron, it will be an “excellent opportunity to discuss broader foreign policy issues, especially following the ratification of the EU-Philippines Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.”

The special invitation extended to the President for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland is another important event. Many financial analysts are advising the President to attend because it will provide an immense opportunity for the global business community to get to know more about the positive developments happening in the Philippines, and why it is a smart investment choice.

The fact is, practically everyone wants to meet an elected leader who is essentially the “new kid” on the leadership block, and now is as good a time as any for President Marcos to show the world that “the Philippines is standing on its own two feet,” as he said during the UN General Assembly in New York.

One thing is very clear, President Marcos is highly energized when he knows he is making good with his promise to do his best for the country’s interest. And he told us – even if the fruits of all his work will be reaped by the next administration, he does not mind at all. Taking credit is not what he is after. What really matters to him is upholding the interest of our country and growing the economy to give a better life for the Filipino – a direction that can only be the right one.

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