November 19, 2023
Capping off his three-city Working Visit to the United States of America (USA), President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. graced The Daniel K. Inouye Speaker Series dubbed, ‘Perspectives on a Secure, Stable and Prosperous Indo-Pacific,’ hosted by the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) in Oahu, Hawaii.
In his keynote speech, the President unveiled two (2) challenges that the Philippines is currently facing: securing the peace in the West Philippine Sea, and securing strategic sectors and critical infrastructure. He also highlighted the Administration’s plans and initiatives aimed at tackling these issues.
Discussing the first challenge, President Marcos Jr. gave updates on the escalating tensions in the West Philippine Sea, including the persistent, unlawful threats and challenges against Philippine sovereign rights, as well as jurisdiction that violates obligations under international law.
“There is rampant illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and militarization of reclaimed features in the South China Sea,” he said, noting how these illegal activities could lead to irreparable and irreversible damage to the Philippine marine biodiversity, which can imperil livelihood and the future generations of Filipinos.
“So as I have said it before and I will say again, the Philippines will not give a single square inch of our territory to any foreign power,” he affirmed.
He also expressed optimism for the elevation of U.S. and Philippine partnerships that would accelerate concrete and substantial capability development investments and activities to meet the two countries’ shared defense and security objectives over the next five (5) years.
Addressing the second challenge, the Chief Executive advocated for public-private partnerships (PPP), particularly in initiatives that support collaboration within and beyond military and defense establishments.
He also cited the importance of developing cyber space technology, wherein the Philippines and U.S. are planning to convene for the inaugural interagency PH-U.S. Cyber Dialogue early next year to follow through on their commitment to enhancing cooperation in the face of new and emerging threats to cyber security.
“These challenges will continue to evolve, but I am confident that, together, we will be able to manage them. Our alliance is stronger than ever because it has been founded on our shared values, our mutual respect and trust for each other as equal, sovereign partners and the unbreakable bonds between our two peoples,” he concluded in his message.
Following the interview discussions, President Marcos Jr. presented a donation to the State of Hawaii in support of its rehabilitation efforts for the towns devastated by the Maui wildfires in August 2023.
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