Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos arrived in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia on Tuesday to attend the 42nd Association of Southeast Asian Leaders’ (Asean) Summit from May 10 to 11. Marcos, along with House Speaker Martin Romualdez, Senior Deputy House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and other official delegates, arrived at Komodo Airport at 4:53 p.m. In his pre-departure speech, Marcos mentioned that he would represent the Philippines and promote its interests during the Summit.
On May 11, Marcos and other Southeast Asian nation leaders will attend the leaders’ summit at Meruorah Hotel in Labuan Bajo, where Indonesian President Joko Widodo will receive and welcome them. The summit’s primary agenda is to adopt a framework on Timor Leste’s full membership to the regional bloc, as announced by the Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesperson Teresita Daza during a press conference in Malacañang on April 28. Marcos will also attend the 15th Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit on May 11, where he intends to highlight the importance of cooperation to sustain the sub-region’s thriving economy.
Apart from attending these summits, Marcos is expected to hold bilateral meetings with some of his fellow Asean leaders. Thus far, Malacañang confirmed that he will meet with Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an intergovernmental organization comprising ten Southeast Asian countries that promote regional cooperation and stability. It is the primary organization for regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific. ASEAN Summit is an annual meeting where leaders discuss regional and international issues, such as security, economic cooperation, and climate change.
The Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) is a sub-regional cooperation initiative launched in 1994 that aims to accelerate economic development in remote areas of the four countries. It covers the entire East Coast of Borneo Island and the neighboring areas of Mindanao in the Philippines.
Marcos’ attendance in the Asean and BIMP-EAGA Summits marks the Philippines’ continued efforts to promote regional cooperation and establish international relations with neighboring countries. The President’s participation in these events affirms the Philippines’ commitment to regional peace, stability, and economic growth. His meetings with other Asean leaders will also provide an avenue to discuss pressing issues and concerns that affect the region, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the South China Sea disputes. Overall, Marcos’ attendance in the summit is an opportunity for the Philippines to strengthen its partnerships with Southeast Asian nations and promote the country’s interests in the region.