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PHL envoys encouraged to develop trade, defense ties with ‘non-traditional’ partners

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has directed his diplomats to work towards expanding trade  and security relationships with the Philippines’ non-traditional partners.

Seeking fresh markets and defense ties will help the Philippines minimize the impact of global disruptions, Mr. Marcos said at a meeting with recently appointed Filipino chiefs of mission and ambassadors in Malacañang.

“We are constantly now — after all the changes that have been imposed upon us, like the pandemic economy and the world situation — looking for what we sometimes refer to as non-traditional partners in trade… security and defense issues. In all these things, we are always looking for partners,” he was quoted as telling the diplomats in a statement issued by the Presidential Communications Office.

The President said he does not want the Philippines to be drawn into a “bipolar” division of the world between two competing camps.

“We do not subscribe to any notion of a bipolar world. Our only side, of course, is the Philippines, not to US, not Beijing, not Moscow. (We are) very much independent in what we do,” he said.

Mr. Marcos reminded the envoys that the government’s priorities remain agriculture, energy, digitalization, and infrastructure development.

“Now, if there are opportunities that come up, you should explore them and if they’re promising enough, then we’ll take them up,” he said. “There’s no harm in trying and kung anuman ang mangyari (whatever happens), at least we tried.”

“What I have found many times (is that) you talk about agri and something else comes up.”

Present at the meeting were Carlos Deymek Sorreta, chief of Mission and Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva; Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Henry Sicad Bensurto Jr. (Turkiye), Renato Pedro Oabel Villa (Saudi Arabia), Raul Salavarria Hernandez (Oman), Paul Raymund Pasion Cortez (Portugal), Joel Francisco Ignacio (India), and Maria Angela Abrera Ponce (Malaysia). — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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