Philippines-Indonesia relations

Rappler Recap: Marcos-Jokowi meeting in Manila touches on defense, energy cooperation

Dwight de Leon
Rappler Recap: Marcos-Jokowi meeting in Manila touches on defense, energy cooperation
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Indonesia's Joko Widodo discuss the South China Sea, border patrol, and cooperation in the field of energy during their bilateral meeting in Manila

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. welcomed his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo to Malacañang on Wednesday, January 10, where they held a bilateral meeting that zeroed in on a variety of issues, including the South China Sea.

Watch the Rappler Recap here.

Rappler Recap: Marcos-Jokowi meeting in Manila touches on defense, energy cooperation

Marcos said both countries stressed the universality of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. UNCLOS is the basis of the landmark arbitral ruling in 2016 that invalidated China’s claim to nearly the entire South China Sea, although Beijing does not want to recognize that decision.

The statement comes amid heightened tensions between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea.

Jokowi also said Manila and Jakarta agreed to strengthen border cooperation, accelerate the revision of border patrol and border crossing agreements, and settle continental shelf boundaries.

One deal signed

The Philippines and Indonesia also inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation in the field of energy.

The Presidential Communications Office later said the MOU “[facilitates] cooperation between their respective business sectors particularly during periods of critical supply constraints on energy commodities such as coal and liquefied natural gas.”

The agreement comes days after Marcos scolded the Chinese-backed National Grid Corporation of the Philippines over region-wide blackouts in Western Visayas.

Separate MOUs under science and technology, and for the development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, are still in the works.

Veloso’s case

A few kilometers from the Malacañang complex, labor groups held a demonstration calling for the release of Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipino migrant worker who has been on Indonesian death row for over a decade due to drug smuggling.

The Philippine government – through Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo – has urged the Indonesian government to grant executive clemency to Veloso. The Palace has yet to confirm, however, if Marcos himself raised the subject in his meeting with Jokowi.

Jokowi, who is constitutionally barred from prolonging his stay in office, is set to step down after his successor – who will be determined after a February election – assumes office in October.

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.