Philippine president says dialogue is the way to resolve bilateral disputes

Philippine president says dialogue is the way to resolve bilateral disputes

Manila will protect its sovereign rights and preserve its territorial integrity, says Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in state of the nation address

By Necva Tastan

ISTANBUL (AA) - Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called Monday for using dialogue and diplomacy to resolve any dispute that may arise as he vowed to protect the nation’s sovereign rights and territorial integrity.

“With our national interest paramount, we will always pursue constant dialogue and diplomatic approaches to the resolution of any issue that may arise,” he said in his second state of the nation address to Filipino lawmakers.

“Our independent foreign policy — a friend to all and enemy of none — has proven effective,” said Marcos, who was inaugurated as president last year.

“We will protect our sovereign rights and preserve our territorial integrity, in defense of rules-based international order,” he stressed.

His comments came amid maritime disputes between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea, where their vessels often encounter each other.

The administration under Marcos has seen Manila’s relations grow with the US, China’s arch-rival in the region.

It has also granted approval to the US to expand its military presence in the archipelago nation.

Touching on the southern autonomous region of Bangsamoro, Marcos said Manila has strengthened “the nation’s prospects for finally achieving sustainable progress anchored on a true and lasting peace” in the region.

“We will continue to support the progress of the BARMM (regional government), apace with our singular vision for all Filipinos,” he added.

Emphasizing a “whole nation” approach to overcome challenges, Marcos began his speech by lauding the economic progress made since last year.

“While the global prospects were bleak, our economy posted a 7.6% growth in 2022, our highest growth rate in 46 years,” he said.

“We are still considered to be among the fastest-growing economies in the Asian region and in the world. It is a testament to our strong macroeconomic fundamentals,” he added.

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