Marcos visits Australia twice in span of week for parliament talk, summit

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. —PPA POOL

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. —PPA POOL

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will visit Australia twice within a week for a state visit and a special summit between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Australia.

He will leave today for Canberra for a two-day visit from Feb. 28 to Feb. 29 upon the invitation of Governor General David Hurley.

As “guest of the government,” Mr. Marcos’ visit is akin to that of a state visit.

He will address the Australian Parliament, the first Philippine leader to do so, to discuss the two countries’ strategic partnership.

“The President’s visit and official activities in Canberra shall further strengthen existing bonds of cooperation and shall enable discussions for new avenues of collaboration,” said Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza at a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday.

Mr. Marcos will return to the country on Thursday then will leave again this time for Melbourne to attend the Asean-Australia Special Summit from March 4 to March 6.

Rule of law

His visit to Melbourne is upon the invitation of Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Asean-Australia relations.

During the special summit on March 6, Mr. Marcos will tackle the South China Sea dispute where the Philippines has been grappling mainly with China despite the country’s arbitration win under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) that invalidated China’s sweeping claims.

“For the leaders plenary, the President may take the opportunity to thank Australia for its unwavering support for the rule of law and for the 1982 Unclos and the 2016 arbitral award,” said Foreign Assistant Secretary for Asean Affairs Daniel Espiritu.

“The President may also highlight Asean-Australia cooperation on maritime issues, climate and clean energy track, people-to-people exchange and economic cooperation,” he added.

READ: South China Sea issue part of Marcos’ agenda in Australia visits – DFA

“As the leaders retreat, the President may encourage Australia to remain committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes and to maintain respect for the rules-based international order and multilateralism which is currently very much under challenge,” Espiritu said.

Meet with Filipinos

Prior to the special summit, President Marcos will speak before the Lowy Institute and meet with the Filipino community on March 4.

On March 5, he will promote the Philippine Business Forum organized by the Department of Trade and Industry.

He will deliver a speech at the Victoria International Container Terminal, a subsidiary of the Philippine International Container Terminal Services Inc.

Mr. Marcos will also hold bilateral meetings with Cambodia and New Zealand.

According to the DFA, there are about 408,000 Filipinos in Australia, constituting the fifth largest immigrant community. Most are crafts and related trade workers; professional service and sales workers; skilled agriculture, forestry and fishery workers; technicians; associate professionals; and managers.

In 2022, there were around 17,825 Filipino students in Australia’s universities, government records showed. INQ