The Chief Executive hopes to enhance ties with Chile and Qatar in disaster response, climate-change adaptation, energy security and revenue mobilization.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. made the remark as he welcomed at Malacañang Palace the two countries’ new envoys to the Philippines: Ambassador Alvaro Domingo Jara Bucarey of Chile, and Ambassador Ahmed Saad Nasser Abdullah Al-Hamidi of Qatar.
As he received the Chilean diplomat, Marcos said the Philippines needs partners as nations slowly redefine their economies for postpandemic and post-Ukraine aggression scenarios.
He noted that the country is looking at new technologies and best practices around the world to transition from traditional fossil fuels to renewables.
The president particularly cited that while the Philippines is considered as one of the top producers of geothermal power, it has to explore other areas, with old, local geothermal sources starting to run out.
Bucarey described to Marcos Chile’s potential for solar and geothermal energies: “With [the former], we have been able to modify the energy production in Chile. In the northern part… there is an immense potential for energy generation.”
Marcos was delighted about the opportunity to explore with the Chilean envoy some of the new ideas and technologies available to both countries: “I look forward to that, Mr. Ambassador…I’m very happy that you have come as the envoy from your country, and I…hope that you will get to [travel around the archipelago].”
In welcoming Ambassador Al-Hamidi, the president hopes that the Philippines could work closely with Qatar.
He noted that it will be a great advantage if the Philippines can learn best practices from the Gulf country, especially in revenue and income generation.
“I think that there are many areas that will provide us opportunities for partnership,” he told the Qatari envoy.
Al-Hamidi said his country is willing to work with the Philippines in exploring opportunities that the two countries feel they have great potential through years of vibrant diplomatic relations.
To help Mindanao
THE Chief Executive also welcomed Ambassador Megawati Dato Paduka Haji Manan of Brunei Darussalam and Ambassador Dato Abdul Malik Melvin Castelino Bin Anthony of Malaysia, as he thanked the country’s two Southeast Asian neighbors for helping bring stability in Mindanao.
Marcos remains hopeful that the two Asean member-countries will continue supporting the development efforts in Mindanao to uplift living conditions there.
In welcoming Manan, Marcos said Brunei Darussalam’s assistance and support have been big factors in establishing a successful autonomous Muslim government on the southern part of the island-region.
“So again, I hope that Brunei [Darussalam] continues to give our Muslim community in Southern Philippines whatever opportunities are available, because that is the best way to assert that having peace is to give good life to the people [which] they… deserve,” he said.
The approach that the government has taken, Marcos shared, is the best formula, which is to bring as much development as quickly as possible in areas that will increase economic activity, so that people will have ideal living conditions, and they have all the essentials to turn them away from secessionist activity.
In response, Manan said it would certainly be her country’s direction to increase the level of cooperation with the southern region, considering that there are certain commonalities with its Asean neighbor.
“We hope that we will branch out and expand the existing cooperation to give…more opportunities for the south side,” she told the president. “As Mr. [Marcos said], giving them more…opportunities [will make them] feel that they’re more empowered in terms of uplifting their lives as well.”
The Chief Executive and the diplomat also underscored the importance of the Asean in resolving regional concerns, such as the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea issue, and the civil unrest in Myanmar.
Marcos said Asean still remains the “most important mover for all [our diplomatic attempts] in terms of the conflicts that we are seeing.”
In welcoming the Malaysian ambassador, Marcos recognized Kuala Lumpur’s role in bringing peace to the Southern Philippines, as he expected it to continue participating in the development of the Bangsamoro Region.
“It’s going to be very important…One of the complaints over the many, many years from the Muslim community in the Philippines [is] that they are underrepresented and underdeveloped. And they [are] absolutely right,” the president shared.” So we are trying to fix that. We are trying to return a balance.”
As the region gains stability, The Malaysian envoy believes that what Malaysia has done so far will sustain the progress of Mindanao.