DFA preparing for Marcos' visit to the US: Romualdez
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is preparing for President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s visit to the United States which would be in ''about a month from now.''
In a virtual press conference with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) Monday, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said Marcos will visit the US in about a month.
“Well, I think the President is preparing his speech. He’s had an outline. Of course, this is about a month from now. The President plans to have several bilateral meetings with other heads of state on the sidelines of the United Nations,” Romualdez said.
He said he is “firming up” the details of the other bilateral meetings with New York Permanent Representative Office in New York and the Philippine embassy in Washington DC.
The President will also be meeting business leaders and individual companies in the US to boost economic activity in the Philippines.
He called Marcos’ visit to the US a “two-pronged trip”.
“One, this is the first time he would be addressing the United Nations. He’s basically introducing himself to the world and the western world especially. And secondly to have more economic business meetings to bring in investments into the Philippines,” Romualdez said.
The last President to visit the US was the late Benigno Aquino III who attended the ASEAN Leaders Summit in California, in February 2016. President Rodrigo Duterte did not visit the US during his entire term.
Marcos' father, the late Ferdinand Marcos Sr visited the US in September 1982.
Romualdez said the Philippines is in talks with the US to buy Chinook transport choppers after Manila cancelled a P12 billion ($38 million) deal to buy Mi-17 helicopters from Russia.
“During a meeting we had with then (Defense)Secretary(Delfin) Lorenzana and Secretary (Lloyd) Austin in Washington DC at the Pentagon, we were already exploring the idea of replacing these heavy-lifting helicopters for our Armed Forces needs. Not only for the movement of our troops but also for our disaster preparedness,” he told the briefing.
Romualdez clarified that there was “no pressure” from the US to call off the deal with Russia but was just trying to avoid being sanctioned.
“Well, the way we will look at it is this cancellation of this contract is precipitated, mainly by the war in Ukraine. While there are sanctions that are expected to come our way from the United States and western countries, obviously, it is not within our interest to pursue this contract,” he said.
Russia says it is conducting a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Since the Philippines still has ties to Russia, it could look to them to supply other needs in exchange for the downpayment of the canceled deal such as "getting the arms we need," Romualdez said.
“But definitely, we will not simply say goodbye to that amount. It’s still a big amount of money as far we’re concerned we cannot afford,” he added. Jaspearl Tan/DMS