Media Interview by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in Indonesia

Event Ambush Interview Labuan Bajo, Indonesia
Location Meruorah Convention Center in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia

Q: Sir, magandang gabi. Ano pong agenda ang ipu-push niyo dito sa ASEAN Summit at bukod sa tatlong leaders na ka-bilateral niyo – ‘yung Vietnam, Lao, and Timor – mayroon pa po ba kayong ibang ka-bilateral?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: So far ‘yun na, ‘yun pa lang ang naka-schedule kasi kung titingnan niyo ‘yung schedule medyo masikip talaga.

So titingnan namin kasi ‘yung Timor-Leste is the first time na nandito sila sa ASEAN as observer status which is a step towards becoming a member. So ‘yun ang – kaya kailangan makilala natin.

The Vietnamese Prime Minister bago. Hindi namin nakilala sa nakaraang mga ASEAN. Lao Prime Minister the same situation bago so I’d like…  Although, the Vietnamese Prime – the Vietnamese Prime Mi – nakilala ko sa London. Now that I mentioned it, oo nakilala ko sa London. But never mind para we’ll go through the formalities.

Ang agenda rito is in the theme is that talagang para patiba – pa – how do you say it? To make more – to revitalize the economies. You know we’ve seen sa EU, we’ve seen sa ibang lugar that the global economies are also turning towards Asia. And the reason is that perhaps we are adjusting better than the Western countries. The African countries, the Middle Eastern countries are also doing well.

But tinitingnan din ang Southeast Asia and ASEAN and that’s what our subject matter will be is that how do we play the part that we want to play which is going to be the global – locomotive of the global economy.

So I think all of those and the aspects of that ‘yun ang pag-uusapan, or at least in the Philippines’ case, ‘yun talaga ang pag-uusapan natin. But I predict that we will have the same idea in mind.

Q: Ma’am, follow up lang. Sir, ngayon po ay May 9. I’m sure memorable sa’yo ang araw na ‘to.

PRESIDENT MARCOS: Oo, medyo, oo.

Q: Ngayon ‘yung araw na nanalo ka one year –


Q: How does it feel? Ano ang assessment mo sa one year?


Q: At ‘yung one year ban na rin nag-lapse ‘yung mga natalong kandidato, tell us about it. Ia-appoint na raw yata?

Oo, marami. Eh talagang gagamitin ko ‘yung one year asahan niyo ‘yun. By the end of the first year para maging maliwa…

In a sense tapos na ‘yung OJT ng lahat ng tao and we have seen who performs well and who is – will be important to what we are doing. So yes, there’s really going to be…

I don’t know about reshuffle pero reorganization sa Gabinete.

Q: Good evening, Mr. President.


 Q: Will you discuss with your fellow ASEAN leaders the conflict in the Taiwan Strait and what actions should the ASEAN do to ease the tension po?

Well, parang inevitable eh, unavoidable ‘yang subject matter na ‘yan. Dahil pare-pareho na mga miyembro ng ASEAN, siyempre it is a grave concern to all the Member States of ASEAN.

So it’s a – considering that we also agree on the concept of ASEAN Centrality when it comes to regional concerns, that will be one of the most important subjects that we will bring up. The discussions on that that we had a year ago, close to a year ago, in that time marami nang nagbago, many changes have occurred. And that’s why we have to recalibrate whatever it is that we are planning to do.

So yes, there’s no way around that will be an ine – that will inevitably be a part of the conversation that we’ll be having tomorrow and the day after.

Q: Hi, sir, good evening.


Q: Sir, will you still push for the finalization of the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea just like what you did when Cambodia was the chairman of the ASEAN kasi po last time kayo po nagbanggit walang naging progress sa CoC?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: Yeah, but you cannot stop trying. So yes, I will bring it up again because when we talk about – when we talk about the issues on the West Philippine Sea, South China Sea, hindi magkakalma ‘yan hanggang mayroon na tayong Code of Conduct.

Kasi may Code of Conduct lahat, basta susunod lahat. That makes things clearer. Walang possibility na magkamali kasi maliwanag na maliwanag dapat ang usapan.

So yes, that has always for me been a key element in the ASEAN Centrality. Solution of all of these problems is really the new Code of Conduct. Kaya paulit-ulit ko laging sinasabi ‘yan. In every forum I can find, sinasabi ko Code of Conduct kailangan nating tapusin.

Q: Sir, good evening. We were also with you during the last ASEAN Summit and the APEC Summit and you were also of course asking for the – or the objective is also to find a conclusion to the Code of Conduct, but you were not able to reach it. Sir, what do you think are the challenges?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: The challenges are – because it gets complicated because the Code of Conduct would essentially be a multilateral arrangement, a multilateral – I suppose you could call it a treaty between ASEAN and China. And that’s what the declaration that went before was. But now, we need a new one.

So the problem is that there are – it gets complicated because there are bilateral arrangements between member countries and with China that have to be resolved, that we need to resolve so that we can have a common Code of Conduct.

Because over the years siyempre lahat nakikipag-usap sa China, ‘yung iba sa ASEAN dumadaan. Iba-iba ang nangyayari. Kaya napakaimportante na maging maliwanag na may Code of Conduct, ganito ‘yung gagawin natin, this is how we operate. Pagka may problema, dito natin ire-resolve, et cetera.

Yes, that’s getting in the way. But more and more again ako again siguro I’m the eternal optimist pero I really believe that we will slowly, slowly get to the point where we can [confer?] and say this is what we want it to look like and this is what we think will be effective.

Q: Sir, in this particular summit you are optimistic that you’ll be able to reach it? And also –

PRESIDENT MARCOS: In this summit?

Q: Yes.

PRESIDENT MARCOS: Ah no, the Code of Conduct – the negotiation of the Code of Conduct is separate from the ASEAN Summits. They negotiate in another way.

So that’s not something that we will be done here at this time. What we need to do is look kung wala pa, ano ba talaga ang nagiging problema? This is what we have to discuss amongst ourselves. What is the problem? What is the bottleneck? Where are we having a hard time? How can we fix that problem?

That’s what these meetings should be for and I think we’ll get to that point because everybody wants this to work, everybody wants to have a Code of Conduct. So what’s getting in the way, let’s talk about it.

You know, iba-ibang bansa ‘yan eh and everyone has a different agenda. But if we talk about it and with a common thought in mind, I think we will get there. But I hope sooner rather than later because the tensions are increasing.

Q: Sorry, one last. Sir, will you also give a self-imposed deadline on the talks with China with regards to the issue of fishing in the West Philippine Sea?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: No. My only – the deadline is when it’s done. Because if you set a deadline and it’s not done, what then? It doesn’t really help – it doesn’t help anything.

So you just keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going as hard as you can, as much as you can until you get an agreement on the fishing grounds.

I have already – but I have already spoken with our Ambassador and ‘yun na nga, sabi niya, willing na kami, let’s map it out and that’s what we will have to do when I get back.

Sinimulan na namin. I talked to the Coast Guard. I talked to the DFA and I said, “This is the proposal of the Chinese. Let’s see – let’s if we can accommodate that into our agreement.” So we’re headed there. May progress naman.

Q: Good evening, Mr. President. Last year po, the DFA asked the Indonesian government to grant executive clemency to Mary Jane Veloso. May we get an update regarding this, sir?

 PRESIDENT MARCOS: Well, ganoon pa rin. We haven’t really stopped. Ganito this is the impasse, okay. The impasse is that we continue to ask for a commutation or even a pardon or just an extradition back to the Philippines. And that is constantly there.

But, the Indonesians answer us and – that this is the law. Ito ‘yung batas dito sa Indonesia kaya’t kailangan natin ipagpatupad ‘yan. And they have already given us postponement of the ano of the…

But that doesn’t mean it’s done. I always, I always at least bring it up na baka sakali, baka sakali magbago.

Sa ngayon, ganoon ang mga position natin. We said, yes, we understand that she is convicted. We understand that the law in Indonesia is that way. But nonetheless, baka makahanap tayo ng paraan. Iuwi na lang namin ‘yan. Kami na magpaparusa sa kanya, whatever.  Basta’t anyway to ask for clemency, to ask for grace when it comes to this.

Q: Hi, sir. Good evening. Sir, did you meet British Prime Minister Sunak in the United Kingdom and if yes, what did you discuss?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: Yes. Well, this is the same thing that comes up every time I meet with leaders. Nagpapasalamat siya sa magandang trabaho ng mga Pilipino’t Pilipina doon sa NHS noong pandemic at kung puwede ba nating dagdagan, laging may kasunod na ganyan.

But also, I basically discussed when we were talking politics and I was saying, I was commenting that at least with his election as leader and now Prime Minister, well magkaroon ng kaunting stability in the UK because medyo magulo eh.

And we said, look, sabi ko sa kanya, there are many opportunities that we have had. In fact, ‘yung kanilang trade representative accompanied me in Gatwick and he reported to the Prime Minister that there is this proposal from the conglomerate… The conglomerate we keep hearing about for the airport. That was why I went to Gatwick.

They… Nire-report niya, sabi niya, sana matuloy natin, let’s talk about it, ‘yung ganyan-ganyan. And we won’t be able to do it now because we had maybe seven minutes, six minutes. We can’t do it now but we’ll do a proper trip for you to come to the UK and we’ll talk about it soon. That’s where we ended.

We also met with his wife, who kept talking about their mga governess ng kanilang mga anak. Like, everywhere you go.

So ang protocol doon sa reception, bawal mag-selfie. Eh asawa naman siya ng Prime Minister, sabi niya, I’m going to violate the protocol because sabi raw nung kanilang kasama, kasambahay ay huwag kang aalis diyan hanggang makakuha ka ng picture kasama ng Presidente namin.

So inutusan nila ‘yung Prime Minister at saka ‘yung asawa kaya nag-picture. Ang galing talaga ng Pinoy ‘no.

Q: Mr. President, how about King Charles?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: How about the?

 Q: King Charles.

PRESIDENT MARCOS: Well, King, yeah it was – very mahirap – very quick but kasi dumadaan lang siya na ganoon but – and as you can imagine he was very, very busy. But kahit papaano, ‘yun na nga.

I just caught a few moments with him. Kinamayan ko. Nagpakilala ako. The minute he heard Philippines sabi niya, “It’s terrible what you have to endure, all of these typhoons that climate change has brought.” Sinabi ko nga sa kanya, “Yes, Your Majesty, you have actually been warning us about this for a very long time.” So yeah, well sabi niya, “but nobody was listening.”

And then I said that I did not have the chance to come at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, but please know, that I wanted to extend, late as it is, my condolences. It was a great loss to all of us. Even Filipinos who are not British  came to love the queen, especially those of us who spent time in England. And he thanked me for that.

And I told him – I then went and said, “My mother when she found out – my mother Imelda…” ‘Pag Imelda nakilala na niya. “My mother Imelda, when she knew that I was coming here, wanted to send you her best wishes and congratulations for your coronation.” And he said, “How is she?”

Kasi kilalang-kilala niya talaga ‘yan eh. Magkakilala talaga sila. Ako nakilala ko siya mga two or three times pero ‘yung si mother ko talaga ‘yung… Kasi mga foreign – siya ang laging representative ng reyna, mommy ko naman ang representative ng father ko. So lagi silang nagkikita kung saan-saan. And he said, “Well, give her my warmest felicitations. We had so much fun together,” sabi niya. And I said, “Well, congratulations on your coronation.”

He was very nice. He clearly knows about the Philippines. Marami siyang kaibigan na Pilipino eh.

Q: Did you get to invite him sir to the Philippines?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: Ay nako, there was no ano for that – no time for that. Nagbabayuhan doon sa ano para makausap ‘yung His Majesty.

 Q: Wala na kayong time sa picture?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: Well, you know, yes I did. It was… My gosh, it was historical. ‘Yung parang… It was like in the – a couple of centuries ago na kinokoronahan ang hari. Kailan pa ba mangyayari ‘yun sa buhay ko ‘yun?

So I was really, it was really – and the way, you know, the British they do this kind of thing very, very well.  And so they did it very, very well yet again. So we wish King Charles a long and happy reign.

All right.  Thank you.


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