NEW YORK, USA – Ferdinand Marcos Jr is set to step foot on US soil for the first time as the Philippine president on Sunday, September 18 (past midnight Monday, September 19 in Manila) for his first working visit as chief executive.
Marcos departed the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday, September 18, Manila time for a six-day working visit that will include an address before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Among his first activities in the US is a gathering with over 1,200 Filipinos, including those who apparently came in from nearby Canada. In the subsequent days, the President will hold several meetings – with fellow world leaders and top business officials – in New York City.
Marcos is scheduled to speak during the afternoon session of the high-level General Debate. He is the second to speak for the afternoon session, which begins at 3 pm in New York on Tuesday, September 20 (early morning Wednesday, September 21 in Manila).
Marcos will be the first Southeast Asian leader to speak during the General Debate and will be the first Filipino to speak at the podium since 2014, according to Philippine Consulate officials in New York.
The order of speakers during the General Debate, according to the United Nations, is made “based on the level of representation, preference and other criteria such as geographic balance.” During his departure speech in Manila, Marcos said he would bring up “economic recovery, food security, and agricultural productivity” during his address. Marcos is also the agriculture secretary of the Philippines.
Leaders are allocated 15 minute slots to speak during the UNGA, although they will not be stopped should they go overtime. Brazil is always the first to speak during the General Debate – a tradition that started in 1995 during the 10th session of the General Assembly. The United States is always second to speak as the host country.
Malacañang has yet to disclose whom Marcos will be meeting while in New York during his working visit, although the Foreign Affairs department had earlier confirmed that discussions were ongoing to facilitate bilateral meetings with other heads of state, including US President Joe Biden.
Marcos’ economic team – who make up the bulk of the Cabinet-level delegation to New York – will also be holding a briefing on the Philippine economy, as it did in Singapore on the sidelines of Marcos’ state visit there.
New York is a city where memories – many of them bitter and controversial – of the first Marcos presidency linger. In different spots across the multicultural hotpot, the Marcos family, led by President Marcos’ mother former first lady Imelda Marcos, spent millions of dollars in shopping sprees – of buildings and expensive apartments to luxury goods.
The US is also where the Marcos family fled in the aftermath of the People Power Revolution in 1986, when the first Marcos president was ousted from the top post after over two decades in power.
This visit is also Marcos’ first documented trip to the US in over a decade. There is an existent contempt judgment against Marcos and his mother over a human rights class suit filed against his late dictator-father, who also happens to be his namesake. As head of state, Marcos will be extended diplomatic immunity. – Rappler.com