WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. embarks on his third foreign trip in 2023, for an “official working visit” to Japan.
Marcos visits Tokyo from February 8 to 12, at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. In Japan, Marcos and his entourage are set to meet with their Japanese counterparts, sign bilateral agreements, and attend meetings with business leaders.
This is Marcos’ ninth overseas trip since assuming the presidency in June 2022.
Bookmark this page for updates and analysis from Tokyo and Manila.
Marcos: PH may get involved if Taiwan conflict breaks out
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. told Japanese news outlet Nikkei in an exclusive interview on Sunday, February 12, that the Philippines would likely become involved if conflict broke out in the Taiwan Strait.
“When we look at the situation in the area, especially the tensions in the Taiwan Strait, we can see that just by our geographical location, should there in fact be conflict in that area…it’s very hard to imagine a scenario where the Philippines will not somehow get involved,” Marcos was quoted as saying. “We feel that we’re very much on the front line.”
Nikkei also reported that Marcos said he would prioritize the welfare of 150,000 Filipinos in Taiwan in the event of conflict. Tensions between Taiwan and China have risen in recent years.
Filipino community in Japan excited to meet Marcos
Inside the Belle Salle, OFWs are excited to meet Marcos. Tourism Secretary also says OFWs here will have a chance to win round trip tickets back home to PH and a condominium from Megaworld. pic.twitter.com/9MHsQzxOWC— Sofia Tomacruz (@sofiatomacruz) February 12, 2023
Many here excited to see Marcos and have the chance to snap a picture with the President too. pic.twitter.com/k9yCUDqcLr— Sofia Tomacruz (@sofiatomacruz) February 12, 2023
Protests vs Marcos in Japan
Outside the venue of Marcos’ meeting with the Filipino community in Japan, groups and individuals staged a protest against the raising for PhilHealth fees for OFWs, the Marcos family’s continued unpaid taxes, red-tagging in the Philippines, the killing of journalist Percy Lapid, and the continued imprisonment of former senator Leila de Lima.
The Filipino community meeting is Marcos’ last event in his official visit to Japan.
Philippines, Japan moving in ‘general direction’ of VFA-like agreement – Romualdez
Speaker Martin Romualdez said that the Philippines and Japan are moving in the “general direction” of entering into a military deal that would allow their troops to conduct joint drills and access military bases in the Philippines.
Romualdez, a cousin of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., was among Philippine government officials who traveled with the President for his ongoing five-day official visit to Japan.
“That’s the general direction…. We’re all in the same region and we’re all experiencing the same issues and concerns,” Romualdez told reporters in an interview Friday night, February 10.
In Japan, Romualdez pushes for charter change as ‘final piece of the puzzle’ for foreign investments
During President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s official visit to Japan, Speaker Martin Romualdez continued his push to amend the 1987 Constitution, this time arguing it was the “last piece of the puzzle” in attracting foreign investments to the Philippines.
“The Philippines has gone a long way when it comes to legislation…. What we’re looking at now is how to make the Philippine economy, you know, more competitive. At the bedrock of that obviously is the constitution, and…the Philippines’ Constitution unfortunately is known to be one of the most restrictive constitutions,” Romualdez said in an interview with reporters.
He said he planned to further discuss economic issues linked to amending the Constitution, with hearings currently ongoing at the House.
“We will see how we can make our Constitution more open and less restrictive because we feel that that is the final piece of the puzzle to bring about a better economic environment, a more open one, to be more competitive,” he said.
Economic experts have been divided on whether or not there was a need to amend or revise the Constitution in order to relax restrictions on foreign investments. Proponents mostly said changes were necessary to attract foreign investment, while others argued that existing laws were already liberal enough for foreign businesses to operate in the Philippines.
Marcos’ pitch to Japanese firms: ‘When you think growth, think Philippines’
“The Philippines has a great deal more to offer Japanese investors,” President Marcos tells Japanese executives.
LOOK: President Marcos meets with Emperor Naruhito in Japan
Imperial audience: Marcos and First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako on February 9. Their interaction at the imperial palace spanned about 30 minutes, with Marcos inviting the emperor to visit the Philippines soon. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/owBXUeaUOo— Sofia Tomacruz (@sofiatomacruz) February 10, 2023