Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

PRIMER: Marcos’ trip to Central Europe in March 2024

Dwight de Leon

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PRIMER: Marcos’ trip to Central Europe in March 2024

RETURN. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos arrive in Manila on March 6, 2024, after their visit to Melbourne, Australia.

Presidential Communications Office

The DFA says Marcos' trip to Germany and the Czech Republic seeks to enhance cooperation on matters of maritime trade, vocational education, and the safety of OFWs, among others

MANILA, Philippines – After returning to the Philippines from his back-to-back trips to Australia, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is once again off to a foreign land.

The chief executive is set to embark on a five-day tour in Central Europe, visiting Germany and Czech Republic.

The last time he flew to Europe was in May last year, to attend the coronation of King Charles in London.

Here’s what you need to know about his latest trip.

Germany, March 11 to 13

The first stop of Marcos’ European trip is Berlin, where he will meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Maria Elena Algabre said in a press briefing on Friday, March 8 that for the working visit, the Philippines seeks to finalize with Germany a joint declaration of intent to strengthen maritime cooperation between the two nations’ transportation departments.

“This is more on the commercial side, so it’s facilitating the movement of maritime trade,” she said. “Our robust shipping industry in the Philippines and worldwide will be good for the employment of Filipino seafarers.”

The DFA also said that the President is expected to discuss how the two countries “could work together in maintaining an international rules-based order,” in light of rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

Algabre added that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and its German counterpart will finalize a cooperation program.

Diplomatic relations between Manila and Berlin mark their 70th year this 2024. The last Philippine president to visit Germany was Benigno Aquino III in September 2014.

There are around 36,000 Filipinos in Germany.

Czech Republic, March 14 to 15

Marcos will then head to Prague, where he is set to meet with numerous Czech Republic officials – President Petr Pavel, Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Senate President Miloš Vystrčil, and President of the Chamber of Deputies Markéta Pekarová Adamová.

During the state visit, the President will witness the signing of a joint communique on the establishment of labor consultations mechanisms, according to the DFA.

The agreement seeks to improve cooperation between the two nations on the safe migration of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

There are around 7,000 Filipinos in the Czech Republic, and Algabre said Prague wants to double the quota of Filipino workers in the country, from 5,000 to 10,000, beginning May.

The two countries just marked 50 years of bilateral relations last year.

PRIMER: Marcos’ trip to Central Europe in March 2024
Common denominators

The government said that Marcos will meet with international business leaders and members of the Filipino community during his Central Europe tour, an agenda that is consistent with past foreign trips made by the President.

“The president will focus on bolstering trade and investment opportunities in the Philippines, inviting German and Czech companies to increase their presence in the country,” Algabre said.

“He will then meet with major companies intending to take advantage of the Philippines’ continuing impressive economic performance and conducive economic investment environment,” she added. “During these business forums, partnership agreements will also be signed.”

This is the fifth time the President will be out of the country for 2024. He previously visited Brunei and Vietnam, and flew twice to Australia.

The government, however, defended the frequency of his foreign trips.

“The president’s international engagement is, of course, in support of his development agenda, security, economic. That will redound to the benefits of our countrymen,” Algabre argued.

Malacañang said the government secured $1.53 billion in investment agreements during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s trip to Australia.

In December 2023, the government said Marcos’ trips abroad have brought home $72.18 billion in foreign investments, but only a small fraction could be considered realized investments.

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[ANALYSIS] Are the foreign trips really worth it?

[ANALYSIS] Are the foreign trips really worth it?

– Rappler.com

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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.