Speech by President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. at the Meeting with Asia Society (with Q&A)
Thank you very much, Secretary Ricky Manalo and the members of the Cabinet; Mr. Kevin Rudd, President of the Asia Society; part of our delegation, the House Speaker, House Speaker Martin Romualdez; our Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Babes Romualdez; all the distinguished guests who have come to join us this afternoon; ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
I am honored to speak before this esteemed organization that is the Asia Society.
I of course commend your efforts in providing a platform for dialogue and action, and building bridges toward a common vision — a better future for us all.
A shared vision creates a commonality of interests that enables collective action. During the Philippine presidential election last May, I was given by our people a majority, a mandate to lead a country of close to 110 million people. This represents a shared vision of strength through unity.
I called for unity throughout that campaign and I am humbled that my call for unity resonated with my fellow countrymen and echoed their desire for a better future. They rejected the politics of division, as I — during the campaign and up to now — said nothing to offend any of the other candidates.
And I bring that message of unity to you today. In our place in the community of nations, I have always said that the Philippines shall continue to be a friend to all, an enemy to none.
I will reiterate what I said during the inauguration. We will continue to be a good neighbor — always finding ways to collaborate with the end goal of mutually beneficial outcomes. If we agree, we will cooperate and we will work together. And, if we differ, we will negotiate until we reach an agreement.
At the United Nations General Assembly, I spoke about the importance of dialogue and solidarity in the face of the many challenges and threats that we now have to deal with. This means exerting every possible effort to transcend our differences and commit to end conflict. We are compelled to do this despite the increasing geopolitical tensions and aggressive strategic competition that is transforming the global landscape.
The United States certainly plays an important leadership role in fostering an environment of stability and peace, not just globally, but certainly in our region. We appreciate the recognition by the United States of the strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific area and its long-standing alliance with the Philippines in this regard.
The special relationship between our two countries is indisputable, founded on a long history of diplomatic relations and historical and cultural linkages that existed before that formal linkage — that formal partnership between the United States and the Philippines.
The United States after all is our only treaty ally.
We believe that our alliance is an important basis for substantial and sustainable Philippine-U.S. cooperation, in support of the Philippines’ security and socio-economic development agenda.
On the security front, we seek collaboration to effectively implement the framework of defense agreement while enabling the meaningful modernization of our armed forces and civilian law enforcement capabilities.
As I clearly stated in my State of the Nation Address, I will not preside over any process that will abandon even a square inch of territory of the Republic of the Philippines to any foreign power. [applause]
We know that we can count on the United States to uphold the international law-based order, freedom of navigation and overflight, and the sustainable use and development of maritime resources.
But equally important, we look to the United States to promote peace, security, and prosperity. On our part, we will continue to work with China and other claimant states with the end in view of resolving the issues involving the West Philippine Sea through diplomacy and through dialogue.
The Philippines’ candidature for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the term of 2027 to 2028 is premised on my country’s long years of experience in building peace and forging new paths of cooperation.
In this context, we are certainly concerned about rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait, just north of the Philippines. We urge all parties involved to exercise maximum restraint. Dialogue and diplomacy must prevail. We adhere to the One China Policy
and have consistently called for the peaceful resolution of the issues involving Taiwan.
We understand that peace and stability in the
Asia Pacific region are also linked to the situation in the Korean Peninsula. And we are ready to play a constructive role in advancing a peaceful
and denuclearized Korean Peninsula through confidence-building measures amongst the various stakeholders.
On Russia and Ukraine — the Philippines urges all parties to continue adopting peaceful means
to maintain international peace and security.
The Philippines has voted in favor of the three UN General Assembly Resolutions on Ukraine.
And at this point, let me discuss the various dialogue mechanisms in the region.
We will continue to work toward strengthening ASEAN, particularly its dialogue partnerships
with neighbors that uphold regional peace
We welcome the renewed engagement of the Quad, along with the recent establishment of the AUKUS. These mechanisms should help prevent destabilizing actions in the region that go against international law.
We think that these dialogue mechanisms
and security arrangements should complement — not supplant — the ASEAN-centred regional security architecture as has been built over decades by the ASEAN and its member partners, as well as the existing network of bilateral security partnerships in the region.
Now let me touch on the economic front.
The US remains a strategic trading and investment partner of the Philippines. American businesses, including Fortune 500 companies, have found
a home in the Philippines. They recognize the Philippines, our country, for its business-friendly policies; a very competent workforce; and a network of economic zones.
Let me point out three reasons why the Philippines is a viable and smart investment destination.
First, our macroeconomic strength and bright prospects. The Philippine economy expanded by 5.7 percent last year and by 7.8 percent in the first half of this year. Growth was broad-based,
driven not only by government spending but also by household consumption and investments, reinforced by consumer and business confidence.
Second, we have enabling policies in place. Recently, investor-friendly laws were enacted, and my administration is determined to leverage these changing reforms that will enhance those efforts.
Third and perhaps the most important point, another strong asset that we have is our human capital.
We boast of a young, educated, hardworking, and English-speaking workforce that is among the best in the world. With a very young median age of 25.7 years old, the Philippines enjoys a demographic advantage from which investors can benefit.
We would welcome capital investments from the US. And our priority sectors are agriculture; clean energy, particularly nuclear energy; health systems; information technology and business process management or IT-BPM; digital connectivity; and manufacturing, including the critical sectors of semiconductors, green metals, batteries for electric vehicles, and electric vehicles themselves.
The Philippines looks forward to how the Indo- Pacific Economic Framework will support our efforts to promote resilient supply chains, health systems, infrastructure, as well as clean energy and decarbonization. These pillars are consistent with the shared priorities as outlined in the Joint Vision Statement for a 21st Century United States-Philippines Partnership that was adopted last November.
We hope for the re-authorization of the Generalized System of Preferences or GSP program, which will greatly benefit both our countries. The GSP has long been a win-win program for the United States and its development partners, including of course the Philippines.
These are interesting times and there are many things to accomplish. The far-reaching ill-effects of the pandemic compel us to reinvigorate our economies in a spirit of sustained cooperation and collaboration.
We must use public and private resources effectively to encourage the expansion of trade, investment, technology transfers, all to accelerate our development.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic and the global economic crisis, the Philippines remains on track to graduate to upper
middle-income-country status by next year.
With steady investments in infrastructure, agriculture, food security, public health, education, and other social services, we seek to become a high-income country, with zero extreme poverty
by the year 2040.
The same spirit of solidarity and cooperation that animates our relations with foreign partners will also advance our efforts to address climate change. We must enhance our collective capacity to urgently and decisively respond to this existential threat, that not only the Philippines but the entire world is facing.
Certainly, the world continues to be faced by enormous challenges, but I am confident in the future because I have 110 million reasons
for being so.
Such is my faith in the Filipino people and the relationship we hold with the United States and our other allies and partners and friends.
With the continuing support of our only treaty ally, we know we can make a better future happen.
Thank you and good afternoon. [applause]
MR. KEVIN RUDD (PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE ASIA SOCIETY): Well, thank you very much, Mr. President. A 110-million people.
PRESIDENT MARCOS: Yes.
Q: That’s a — even for an Australian, I can work out that makes you the second most populous country in Southeast Asia. So Indonesians are out there.
PRESIDENT MARCOS: Yes.
MR. RUDD: Philippines next with a great advantage as you’ve just said of having 110 million native English speakers, which is quite remarkable.
So I’m really taken by the economic vision that you are putting forward for the country. In an earlier discussion today, you indicated there are some challenges still — the digitalization, the economy has been slow.
But in terms of the future, if you’re looking at the digital economy, the renewable energy transformation, but also future secure supply chains. Give us a sense of where you hope the country to be economically at the completion of this term?
PRESIDENT MARCOS: Well, to put it very simply, I have been asked what is the absolute end result that we are hoping to achieve and it’s very simple for me: not one more hungry Filipino.
And that is a very simple — it’s a very simple aim. [applause] It’s a very simple goal. But I dare say, it is not necessarily a simple problem to solve and it requires a great deal of effort and thinking on the part of the public sector.
But if it is the public sector’s responsibility to attend to that social problem that we are facing, we are engaging — this is the new policy of this administration — we are engaging the public sector — the private sector rather as partners in that effort.
We hope to leverage whatever it is that the government can do to maximize the effects of what development we are able to encourage and to the benefit of those who have come to help us, our partners, our investors, and of course to the benefit of the ordinary Filipino.
And so the — as I came into office, of course the primary concern was the economy. The primary concern was the livelihood of Filipinos. And this is why we have come to the conclusion with the economic managers who have we engaged and have asked to join government. I think I believe that we have the best and the brightest of our economic managers.
With all of whom have a long history of success and a true understanding of the problems that Filipinos face and furthermore, a true understanding of what we need to do to solve those problems.
And again, we have managed to engage our private sector partners to be part of this effort. And I do not think that we could manage to do this by ourselves in the public sector.
To take that point a little further, I would say that not only private sector partners in the Philippines but also partnerships between governments and the Philippines — as partners, as allies, as friends.
As we all emerge from the pandemic and try to reinvigorate and transform our economy, I believe that the partnerships that we make between our friends and allies around the world are going to provide the stability that we are going to need as we face a new world. And face the problems really that we have not faced before the pandemic and we have not faced before and we now have to find new solutions.
Business as usual in our view simply has no place in that because it is not business as usual. The pandemic basically has changed everything. We live differently, we work differently, we study differently, our social contacts are done differently.
And as you can imagine, this leads now to that process of digitalization that we all need to undertake if we are going to be part of the new global economy.
And so many of these aspects of the economy, we have tried to analyze it and it is surprising for me anyway that when we sat down with the economic managers and we talked about industrialization, we talked about energy supply, we talked about digitalization, and at the root of it, at the heart of the problem was our agricultural sector.
You would think that the high-tech industries would be the ones that will hold the key and they do in many ways. But all that we can do with the new industries still have to be founded on a very strong and reliable agricultural sector.
The pandemic showed very clearly the weaknesses that Philippines has in terms of being able to provide a strategic food supply to our countrymen at a price that they can afford.
And so that for us has been really the first step is trying to improve the production of agricultural products and of course this has been made terribly difficult with the shocks that the agricultural sector — perhaps not just in the Philippines but around the world — the shocks that have been dealt us by the conflict in Ukraine.
It is a constant surprise to all of us that we are having to learn to live with that a conflict in eastern Europe should affect the Philippines at such a profound and basic level as agriculture.
With the prices of fertilizer going up, with the prices of agricultural commodities going up, with the uncertainties of supply, and so we now have to go to what we described as non-traditional sources and we have to diversify.
I don’t think that this is unique to the Philippines. I see it in many of the other countries. So those are the first steps I think will have to do with the agriculture.
And then we have to fix our weaknesses in the bureaucracy, we have to learn to be more efficient, we have to streamline our civil service both at the national and at the local level.
And unfortunately, the Philippines in these areas we are still playing catch-up. But that’s not where we want to go — that’s not just where we want to go.
We don’t want to just catch up. We want to go beyond that. We have no interest in going back to pre-pandemic levels. What we are interested in is to flourish further and to position the Philippines in such a way that we can take full advantage of the new economies and the new industries that have come to light.
Unfortunately, many of the traditional sectors that we had depended on during pre-pandemic days will cease to exist — have ceased to exist. And we have to identify as quickly as possible and to have a good view and forecast for the future to position the Philippines in such a way that we are able to be part of the transformation of the global economy. [applause]
MR. RUDD: Thank you for that. Mr. President, you mentioned a couple of times about your treaty ally, the United States. So we are Australians, your farther east in Asia. Sometimes the Americans can be tricky to deal with. [laughter]
PRESIDENT MARCOS: I don’t think you get any contradiction from the Philippines on that. [laughter]
MR. RUDD: But they’re good people and they have been reliable security partners. So tell me in a nutshell, how is it going with Uncle Sam because it wasn’t going so well with President Duterte? [laughter]
PRESIDENT MARCOS: Well, in a sense… In a sense, despite the fact that my predecessor, President Duterte, had a very different treatment of the relationship between the US and the Philippines, the basic premise of the strong relationship that has been developed between the US and the Philippines over — more than a hundred years, beyond the time that we had a formal diplomatic relationship is recognized as being as strong as it has ever been.
And that it is necessary especially with the events in the past few weeks and months. What has happened is that many times I had felt that in the past years, there was a feeling that we had come to a kind of modus vivendi in our region. And that is going…
You know we have found a way to live with each other in peace and found a way to calm the waters whenever things go awry a little bit.
But again, the events in the last few months really have pointed out that those problems had not really gone away. They are just bubbling under the surface and they now have come above the surface and we have to face those challenges and we have to deal with them.
So the partnership between the United States and the Philippines is going to be certainly a very, very important part of being able to manage those problems that we have been facing.
I think it’s no surprise to anyone that the Philippines has some of these conflicts with the People’s Republic of China. And the position that the Philippines takes is that we have no territorial conflict with China. What we have are China claiming territory that belongs to the Philippines. [applause]
So this is the position we take and with our American partners we have promoted that position. We have also made it very clear to our friends in Beijing that this is the way we feel about it. And as a consequence of this challenge that we have, this diplomatic, this territorial challenge that we have, I would like to point out that this is the first national election in the Philippines where foreign policy was an issue with the people.
Generally speaking in our experience, the foreign policy — the ordinary citizen, the ordinary voter would say “well foreign policy is not really our concern. Let the experts in government decide that.”
But when it happens that our fishermen are not allowed to continue with their livelihood to fish in areas where they have fish for the last 30, 40 generations, then it becomes an issue right at the gut of our people. [applause] And that is where we find ourselves now.
MR. RUDD: I listened carefully to what you said in your remarks about the West Philippine Sea and your recent stated position of the government in terms of the Permanent Court of Arbitration decision in 2016.
So given China’s posture which is in recent times usually not through gray-colored vessels, that’s warships, but through ships of other colors, sometimes Coast Guard vessels and sometimes fishing fleets, and sometimes fishing fleets comprised of hundreds of vessels very close together. Looking at here for the next couple of years, what would you ask our Chinese friends to do differently?
PRESIDENT MARCOS: What we have tried — I mean in my view it is — nobody wants to go to war. The one thing we need to avoid is a shooting war.
And I have always said that the fundamental principle that guides our foreign policy is peace.
We talk about the economy. We say that we are in crisis. There are many things that we need to do. We have good plans for it.
We are very optimistic about the future. But all of these things will be for naught if there is conflict in the region. Australia is certainly a strong partner in all of these actuations that we have been trying to endorse.
In the case of the Philippines, it’s clear that militarily there is no comparison between the Philippines and China in terms of capability, in terms of strength — military strength, should it come to that.
However, we believe that the strength that we can apply will be from the partnerships once again that we have with the countries like Australia, with our ASEAN members, with the rest of our friends and the allies in the region.
And that’s why I think that ASEAN is going to have to play a stronger role in all of these discussions and in trying to again keep the peace and slowly — but continue to engage China. Because once that engagement stops, then there is no progress and then things could very easily deteriorate and that is not what we want to happen.
So we have tried on a bilateral basis with China to — although we maintain our position in terms of our maritime territories and our fishing rights, our economic zones, we have nonetheless tried to continue to engage China on that basis, on those subjects, but also engage China on other aspects.
The people-to-people relationships, even the economic relationships that we have fostered with China, even some of the other exchanges that we have had in terms of education, in terms of cultural exchanges, in terms of all of the other things.
I have always told my Chinese friends and I said let us not make our differences concerning maritime — like the baselines, the economic zones, et cetera — let us not make that the defining element of our relationship. Because if that is the only defining — if that will be the defining part of our relationship, then we are really at a standstill.
And hopefully if we make progress in other areas, this will help. I always quote that the time — the way that the United States, for example, and China came together was through ping-pong.
If you remember it was because the Chinese ping-pong captain played with the United States’ ping-pong captain and they became friends and ping-pong went to the United States. And this led to Richard Nixon going to China and establishing diplomatic relations.
So perhaps that’s something so we must explore everything, we must explore every avenue. We do it G2G, government to government.
MR. RUDD: Basketball? Can we do it basketball?
PRESIDENT MARCOS: Basketball [laughs] — it could be another… But in any single way. We never know. You never know where the progress will come so you have to try everything.
You cannot discount anything and limit yourself to just the traditional ways of negotiating, the traditional ways of dealing with this kind of problem.
To an extent, I would say that we have been successful and that we have slowly begun to redefine — or rather no, not redefine but to add to that relationship in other aspects of a diplomatic life, of political life within the region.
And I think that has happened because of again the strong partnerships that we have with the other countries, our allies around the region. And that way, that united front that we can present I think is a very, very important aspect of that engagement.
MR. RUDD: In your speech before, you also made positive reference to the Quad and AUKUS and that follows I think from a logic you’ve just explained about those beyond the Philippines on him you can rely for security policy support.
Your reflections on how the Quad, for example, aids to strategic stability in the region, that would be an interest I’m sure to this audience and within that your view and vision of your future relationship with Japan?
PRESIDENT MARCOS: Well, the Quad certainly is another one of those aggrupations that we feel we are going to be — it’s a partnership between countries that I think again if we were to move as one country alone, it would not be as effective as we approach the problem as part of this political diplomatic aggrupation even military aggrupations that we have put together.
So that’s again something that is fundamental to the way we try to approach the problems that we are facing vis-à-vis the maritime disputes that we have.
I have to remind people that these maritime disputes are not only with China. We also have within ASEAN. Some disputes with our other member countries.
So in my view, this applies as well. So these kinds of partnerships I think are very, very important.
Now, Japan has certainly… I had a meeting with the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Kishida, just the other day. And naturally, I think it’s no surprise to anyone that they are terribly, terribly concerned not only of China but because of the recent events, we have focused on the Taiwan situation, the visit of the United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan sort of highlighted once again the simmering tensions that as I said were beneath the surface but now have surfaced out into the open.
But if you remember, if you go back maybe six months, it was North Korea that we were all very worried about. And it is exactly that I think that aspect of it that Japan is also worried about because when you have missiles flying over your — in your skies and into the sea, it’s not very surprising that Japan will be alarmed.
Again, that is part of the relationship that we have between ally countries, Japan is an ally. Japan is a friend and a partner in many, many ways again. And that again we feel that we should strengthen that and we continue to promote that partnership.
The difference between right now anyway — between the conflicts or the disagreements between China and the rest of the countries around the area, and Korea, is Korea has threatened to use nuclear weapons. And that would be a complete disaster. And there is no way that the Philippines will be somehow exempt from that sort of conflict.
And it’s very interesting to watch what’s happening in Russia and Ukraine. And it’s very worrisome because if there is a possibility that nuclear weapons suddenly become — even tactical nuclear weapons not strategic nuclear but tactical nuclear weapons — become part of that equation, then we will see the normalization of nuclear weapons as — and nuclear weapons will become conventional weapons. And perhaps that will encourage other nuclear powers to exercise that nuclear option which as we all know is going to be a — is really end-of-world scenario.
So to take the point a little further, we are beyond the Cold War. I do not subscribe to the spheres of influence like we had during the Cold War. So we see that nuclear weapons should not be — we should abandon the idea of nuclear weapons as deterrence and really work towards bringing down the stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the world. And of course the ideal result of them being taken away and us not having — no one having any nuclear weapons.
Now, that’s easier said than done. [applause] That’s easier said than done because each country that has nuclear weapons have a different view on the subject and feel that they must have it because they have enemies that they feel that need to be deterred.
So that is I think where we — if we take it as far… That’s as far as we can take the analysis of the conflict, it is something that we pray for. But the way towards that end certainly is not clear as there are so many varied and different views on the subject vis-à-vis the individual situations of those countries that do have nuclear stockpiles. So this is the thinking that we have developed and this is the thinking that we have tried to espouse to our friends and neighbors.
MR. RUDD: Your comments just now about the legitimization of the use of tactical nuclear weapons I think is extraordinarily important. The more of us in the international community, who are serving political leaders like yourself, we make that clear to our friends in Moscow the better. We cross that threshold, we’re in the world of different plane.
PRESIDENT MARCOS: Yeah.
MR. RUDD: Domestic politics. Sixty percent of the vote in your election, pretty impressive. The best I ever did was 53. [laughter] So you’re obviously a better campaigner than me my friend. [laughter] So the — but on domestic politics and I always head in this direction with all of our guests, we had the Chinese foreign minister here yesterday.
Under President Duterte, there were concerns raised about human rights in the Philippines particularly in his drugs campaign. Some questions today about legal actions against your Nobel laureate, Maria Ressa. And then even the State Department report, annual report refers to several hundred continued “political prisoners”. So your reflections — I noticed what you said before about unifying all Filipinos. Could you give us your reflections on the future of human rights in the Philippines?
PRESIDENT MARCOS: Well, the argument or rather the discussion about human rights in the Philippines in the past few years has really derived from the anti-drug war that President Duterte undertook.
And as I come into office, you look and you see we cannot stop the drug war. The problem continues to exist.
What we can do is to examine and learn lessons from the experience from the past administration.
And to go into a little more detail, I think we have found it is certainly my view that enforcement, which has been the part of the drug war that has been most vigorously pursued by President Duterte only gets you so far.
And my approach is slightly different. We look at the drug problem in the Philippines and it is a significant one. There are approximately, I suppose according to official statistics, close to four and a half million actual addicts in the Philippines.
And the corrosive effect of that on society, on criminality, on the drug syndicates, et cetera, even the politicization of the whole drug syndicates and they are networks is something that we still have to deal with.
And so perhaps we should look instead of just enforcement — which will continue but in a more focused way. I tell — when I first came to my first command conference with our policemen, and I said we will adjust. Let us adjust our focus.
And let us also look at prevention. Let us — education to our young people to say that you know this is a dead end. This will get you absolutely nowhere. It will get you put in jail. It will get you killed. And even if it does not do that, this will take away your future.
And second part of that is cure. To be more sensitive and more sympathetic to those who actually have gotten caught up in this lifestyle. And so that is something that we are now promoting. We are trying to learn which are the best methods now to pull our victims — really is what they are — pull them out of that culture and to help them start again and do live a good life as good and constructive members — contributing members of society.
Now as to the enforcement, to put it very bluntly, I simply told them “look I’m not interested in the kid who makes 100 pesos a week selling weed.” That’s not the person that I want you to go after.
I want you to go after people who — if we get them, if we neutralize them, or put them in jail, we put them away, whatever it is — will make an actual difference so that the supply of drugs, the system of distribution, the system of importation of drugs because much of it really does come from abroad. That will actually make a difference, it will put a stop to it. And that’s what we are working on right now.
So those are the different elements of — the three elements of the anti-drug effort of this government. Those are — the focus has certainly changed and even the methodology has changed.
MR. RUDD: Well, thank you. There was — the Nobel laureate, Maria Ressa, I know there’s some sort of a legal case involving her at the moment. What are the prospects there? Is it caught up in your courts or is it because she’s a Nobel prize winner there is international preoccupation with her case as well?
PRESIDENT MARCOS: Well… Really what have happened with Maria Ressa and Rappler is that it was determined that it is a foreign enterprise. And that’s not allowed in our rules, in our law.
And what her situation right now is that it has nothing to do with her political leanings. What has happened is that an individual has filed cyber libel cases against her and that’s what she is facing now. So that is the situation with Maria Ressa.
Rappler actually continues to operate. You can look them up on the Internet. They make their comments and make their posts and they continue to operate in that way.
However, she herself is personally facing I believe it’s two cyber libel cases and we just — you know we have a very clear delineation of powers in our political system, very much styled after the American system where we have the executive, the judiciary, and the legislature. And they are co-equal. And so it is highly improper for the executive to interfere in either the legislature or the judiciary.
MR. RUDD: So the end of UN week here in New York. You’ve had a bucketload of meetings. Have you had some fun? [laughter]
PRESIDENT MARCOS: Well, being in New York is always fun. [applause] I haven’t been in New York for a good long time actually for whatever reason.
It’s been — I think we were looking — we were calculating it with my wife Liza, who is here, we were calculating about 22 years since we came back to New York?
MR. RUDD: Put your hands together for the First Lady of the Philippines. [applause]
PRESIDENT MARCOS: It’s been 22 years. She practiced law here for many years. And so she’s really part of that song, she’s a Native New Yorker. [applause] And we miss it terribly.
I spent a good deal of time as well in New York perhaps not as a permanent resident or working here but simply because I learned to enjoy and really have great affection for the city and its people.
And we miss it terribly and we are very happy to be given the chance to come back. But I would say that she has been — had a better opportunity to have some fun in New York. [laughter]
We’ve been… I have tried very hard to maximize every single hour that I have been here to make these contacts and as you described them “I have a bucketload of meetings” which I think have gone rather well.
But as I said, it doesn’t take much just to be able to look out my window and to see New York, the Central Park, to see New York at night, to walk along the street, to get my Sabrett and my souvlaki sandwich [laughter and applause], go to Katz’s have a Pastrami on Rye.
MR. RUDD: Did you get away with some bagels? Did they get you bagels?
PRESIDENT MARCOS: And I’m a happy camper you know. It doesn’t take much.
MR. RUDD: Well, I have much the same sentiment about this town. For a small town it’s not bad. [laughter]
Mr. President, as you said you in the General Assembly week I was found to be a bit like speed dating for heads of government, you know, in the door, out the door, in the door, out the door. [laughter]
You are such a welcome guest here at the Asia Society. I have a center in Manila headed by Doris Ho. Put your hands together for Doris. [applause]
We’re a global family. We have 15 centers around the world including in Australia but we have five centers here in America. You are always a welcome guest here because we wish your country, the Philippines, all the best for the future. Thank you, Mr. President. [applause]
PRESIDENT MARCOS: Thank you, thank you, Mr. Kevin Rudd for those very kind words and thank you all members of the Asia Society for this very warm welcome that you have given me. Thank you very much indeed. [applause]
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