President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the Kapihan with the Media

Event Kapihan with the Media
Location Waldorf, Hotel Washington, DC

PRESIDENT MARCOS: Well, as you all know, the main purpose of our coming here was to formalize with Prime Minister Kishida and President Joe Biden, the trilateral agreement between the Philippines, Japan and the US. And, that is what we did over the summit yesterday.

Now, I think it is important for me to make clear is that this, the trilateral agreement, is not something that is only about convenience, or because there is a new situation, I really view it as a continuing evolution of our relationship with both countries, with the US and Japan.

And, this is evidenced by the fact that a large part of the agreement is on economic proposals, and economic assistance and partnership between the three countries. Security and defense, of course, is there. But that is not the main point of the trilaterals agreement.

And if you read the joint statement, talaga namang very well defined na, even the sectors, the areas that we have prioritized are stated very clearly. And, so that we have to characterize it properly na hindi natin sasabihin na anti-kung sino ‘yan, hindi anti ito ng kahit na sino. Ito lang nagkakaisa lang ang tatlong bansa, ang Japan, ang US at saka Pilipinas na magtutulungan. Syempre, as I said, kasama ang security defense diyan dahil walang mangyayari sa ekonomiya, walang mangyayari sa mga plano natin kung magkagulo. So, syempre, nais natin na ‘wag masyadong magkagulo.

I just finished before I came here a discussion, a business forum, with more CEOs of US companies that was organized by the Embassy. Tinulungan tayo ng mga kaibigan natin sa Philippine-US society. Tinulungan tayo ng Chamber of Commerce ng US.

So, again, I stated the priorities that the Philippines has in terms of transformation and development. It was a very good meeting. I think that we can look forward to them. Marami dun nasa Pilipinas na to expand – for them to expand their operations at ‘yung wala pa sa Pilipinas ay, ngayon, iisipin nilang pumasok sa Pilipinas in terms of investment, in terms of FDI.

So, that’s basically been the – what we have done yesterday and today. And, I think the trilateral agreement is extremely important. It is going to change the dynamic that is – that we have been seeing in the region, in ASEAN, in Asia, around the South China Sea and certainly I think for the better.

I’m sure you know by now I’m a great believer in coalitions and alliances. So, that is a major step for the Philippines, for the US, and for Japan. And, we, I think in the years to come we’ll begin to see the wisdom of it. We’ll start to see, we can actually not even years, within the year, we will start to begin, to see the wisdom of having that trilateral agreement and why it is a good thing to enter into.

So, that’s essentially what we have been doing and we re-affirmed our close relationship with the United States. It is already, as President the fourth visit that I have made to the US, I think which is indicative of how we are redefining our relationship in view of the developments around the world, and how we approach it, how we confronted, if we have to. But mostly because we, it is, it’s really about development coming out of the pandemic. We’re still struggling to completely do that. So all of these things have come together, and I am very confident that the trilateral agreement will be, there will be big benefit to the Philippines, but also of course, to the US and to Japan.

Well, anyway, so, ok, let’s start.


Q: Mr. President, on the 100 billion US dollar investment for the next five years, that would come from US and Japan alone. How confident are we that we will achieve such a projection?

PRESIDENT MARCOS:  Well, they have already committed to these investments and the fact that they actually have, we have together identified the areas and the sectors where that investment will go to, it shows that this is not a promise, or it is not just an idea. It is something that we intend to do because it has been put into the agreement. So, I am very confident that this will all materialize and mararamdaman natin sa Pilipinas lahat ito.

Q: How will the outpour of investments from the United States and Japan affect China’s economic influence in the Philippines?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: I don’t see how the two are connected. China will continue whatever investments it chose to make. This is separate from any proposed or potential Chinese investments in the Philippines. How do I see it, how will it affect? I don’t see that it will affect, one way or the other.

Q: Just a follow up question, your administration has been lauded for its clear stance on the China issue, but on the other hand the second in command of the country is criticized for her seeming silence on the issue. How do you assure the Filipino public that the top two leaders of the Philippines are on the same page when it comes to …

PRESIDENT MARCOS: Can you slowly, I cannot understand.

Q: Sorry sir. Ok. Sir, your administration is being praised for its clear-cut policy on China, but on the other hand, the second in command of the Philippines is being criticized for her seeming silence on the issue. How do you assure the Filipino public that the top two leaders of the administration are on the same page when it comes to dealing with China and its expansionist agenda?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: It’s not the Vice President’s place to – the Vice President is part of the government. Unlike before, pero ngayon, talagang kasama sa administration not only the government’s agenda in this administration. That’s not the role of the Vice President, or the Secretary of Education to talk about China.

So, I think we are all in line because I’m very sure that if Inday Sara had some very serious misgivings about what we are doing in terms of foreign policies, she would bring that to me. And, wala naman siyang, ang pinag-uusapan nga namin, sabi niya, “basta ako trabaho lang ako nang trabaho,” sabi niyang ganun. That’s a good policy. So, I don’t think it is something that we need to be concerned with.

Q: Thank you sir.

Q: The Chinese Embassy in Manila confirmed that a gentleman’s agreement was reached during the Duterte administration over the Ayungin Shoal, and said that it was not followed during the early days of your administration. Your reaction to this, and have you been briefed about this said gentleman’s agreement. And was it ever discussed in this trilateral meeting?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: Ok, on the issue of this gentleman’s agreement. I always have had three questions: number one, is there such an agreement? Because we do not know anything about it. Even during the transition from the Duterte administration to my administration, wala silang sinabi sa amin na mayroong ganito, na kailangang pakinggan, kailangan nating sundan dahil naipangako natin sa kaibigan natin sa China – sa mga kaibigan natin sa China.

So, now, with the confirmation of the Chinese Embassy. We now know that there was a secret agreement. Now, this is, the second question that I have, is what is contained in the secret agreement?

Ano ba ang pinangako ng Duterte administration sa China? Dahil hindi pa natin alam eh kung – ngayon lang pa lang natin talaga – ngayon lang tayo nakakatiyak na mayroon talagang, mayroon pala talagang agreement. Tawag nila is gentleman’s agreement, tawag ko diyan, secret agreement.

Hindi namin alam, walang dokumento. Hindi ko nga maintindihan, very experienced lawyer si president Duterte. Ang abogado lahat gusto nila nakasulat lahat ‘yan. Bakit walang nakasulat na kahit isang papel? Bakit walang video? Bakit walang announcement? Nothing.

Bakit hindi nila sinabi – kung gusto nilang i-sekreto, bakit hindi nila sinabi sa amin noong kami pumasok? Sabihing mayroon kaming usapan, dapat sundan natin. And, for whatever reason, ‘wag mong sasabihin sa taumbayan.

And that’s my third question: why is it secret? Why is it secret? Because, don’t tell me it was just an oversight na hindi nasulat. Eh, deliberate ‘yung hindi sinulat. Deliberate ‘yun.

Some, it was decided and in the last administration that we will not record this. It was decided in the last administration, we will not announce it to the Filipino people. Therefore, it is a secret agreement. My question is, why was it a secret?

So, that’s my, we have only answered, with the statement of the Chinese Embassy, we have only answered the first of those three questions. Now, it’s very clear that there was in fact an agreement, a secret agreement.

Secondly, now the second question that I’d like to get answered, is what is the agreement? Because si PRRD sinasabi niya walang agreement, walang gentleman’s agreement. Sabi naman ng Chinese mayroon, confirmed naman na because PRRD is trying to characterize it, hindi status quo lang. Hindi, may agreement eh.

Kaya pinipilit ng Chinese na sinasabing “may agreement tayo, may usapan tayo,” eh ang sagot ko naman, wala, kami, tayong dalawa, wala tayong usapan at ‘yung nakaraang administrasyon, walang sinasabi sa amin tungkol diyan.

So, papaano namin magagawa, kung gusto naming sundan, kung ayaw naming sundan, hindi pa rin, hindi namin alam. So, whatever foreign policy we undertook vis-à-vis South China Sea, West Philippine Sea was just continuing our foreign policy of maintaining the peace and promoting the national interest.

It – the secret agreement, gentlemanly, or otherwise was not, was not, we were not informed about it. So, you should – can you please, I ask members of the–all our media, can you go to the former officials in the Duterte administration and ask them.

Who were the Cabinet Secretaries, who knows about this, what was the process and what happened, paano nangyari ito? Kung talagang nangyari. Eh kasi, sa akin, in my mind mayroon talagang silang secret na, patago na usapan. Maliwanag para sa akin, maliwanag na para sa akin may tinago – may usapan sila na tinago nila sa taumbayan, number one.

Ok, that’s why I say that the first question that I have still, so, now we need to know what did you agree to? What did you compromise? Ano ‘yung pinamigay ninyo? Bakit nagagalit sa atin ang mga kaibigan natin sa China dahil hindi kami sumusunod. Ano ‘yung dapat naming gawin? Anong laman nung secret agreement na ‘yan? At, Pangatlo, bakit secret? Pagka-masagot natin ‘yang tatlong ‘yan, magiging mas maliwanag ang isyung ‘yan.

Q: Do you think the previous administration’s stance on the West Philippine Sea was–detrimental to the Philippines’ interest, and you are now, bearing the weight, or dealing with the consequences of this policy, and just an answer, probably, to what you’ve mentioned a while ago, asking the media to ask the former officials, president, the former president Duterte also said that you may ask Secretary Año because he was a part of his Cabinet –


Q: … and he is now, he is with you–

PBBM:  Yeah, we will talk about it. Hindi siya kasama sa usapan eh. He was part of the Cabinet, but he wasn’t part of the discussion. So, he said, that he had some vague knowledge, of course, that we we’re talking to China.

But we are always talking to China because we’re trying to minimize the tensions in the West Philippine Sea. But, who were the others that were involved? Sino ba ang kakausapin sa, ng Embassy of China, o ng China pagka magkaroon ng secret agreement?

Sino ‘yung kinausap nila? Tanong natin sa kanila, tanong natin sa opisyal. If I made any agreement with anyone, you can ask the foreign secretary, ‘di ba? You can ask my, the office, to show you the document of what we were talking about.

Tanong natin sa kanila. Eh walang dokumento. Oh sige, ano ba talaga, ano ba talaga? I- kwento naman ninyo kung ano ‘yung nangyari? Anong, what part did you play in all of these? Well, we need to clarify the situation because nalalagay ang Pilipinas sa alanganin. Papaano, naman, papaano mo gagawin ‘yung tama kung hindi mo alam na mayroon pa lang secret deal dun sa tabi, may side deal and that’s really what is happening here. Yeah, so, go, go, I’ll talk to the former officials, and see what they have to say. I can get a straight answer on any of them.

Q: Sir, just for the record, so you believe that the previous administration stance on the West Philippine Sea is detrimental to the Philippines’ interest?

PRESIDENT MARCOS:  Well it depends how do you define the Philippines, we don’t know nga what their stance is eh dahil nasa secret agreement eh.

Q: Just a fact that they entered into a secret agreement, is it detrimental …

PRESIDENT MARCOS: I will not enter into. I will not. I disagree with that idea that you entered into a secret agreement. You know, you have any secret, any agreement with another sovereign state should really be known by the people. Should be known by the elected officials. Should be known by the Senate. Because the treaty is to be ratified by the Senate. It should be known by all the local officials. It should be known by everyone. Because, if, if, that way you can, you are accountable.

If it’s a bad decision, you’re accountable. Sabihin n’yo, mali yung ginawa ninyo.  ‘Di ba? Ano yung tinatago mo, bakit di n’yo sinabi. What are you hiding? Why was it secret?

Q: Sir just one last. Former President Duterte criticized Naval Patrol, saying that you are a crybaby. Your reaction to this?

PRESIDENT MARCOS:  Yeah I saw that. You know to be a crybaby, you have to cry. Did you see me cry? [laughs] I don’t pay any attention to that. I really don’t. That means, absolutely nothing to me and you know, again, the former president is a highly experienced lawyer.

He should know that ad hominem attacks like that are really have no place in this kind of this very important and very precarious discussion. Sasabihin na, eh panget ka eh. [laughs] o sige di panget ako, so what? ‘Di ba? Walang lugar ‘yang mga ano eh. ‘Yung mga personal ad hominem attacks kung tawagin sa batas.

Q: Thank you Sir.

Q: Hi sir, good afternoon. Sir I would just like to get your view. How do you view the remarks of still former president Duterte, saying that there’s a possibility that you two being political enemies because of the suspension of the Davao Del Norte Governor –

PRESIDENT MARCOS:  Well, I think again, he is an experienced lawyer. You want, I’ll send him all of the court record and all of the discussions about that. Matagal na yan. Some of these cases were filed before the–I took office. And so it’s taking close to two years because it went through the process. So I’m confident, let anybody investigate. You. Kayo yung mga abogado ninyo, papuntahin niyo, tingnan n’yo yung records namin kung anong nangyari.

So, actually, I only learned about the cases about a year ago. I did not know that such a case existed.  I learned about it a year ago as part of my briefer, my daily briefer. So, I’m very sure we did all of, we went through all of the checks and balances. We went through all the procedures, the proper procedures, before we came to the decision. Before the DILG came to the decision of imposing a suspension.

Q: Sir just a follow up, whether or not it involves Davao del Norte Governor. Sir,  whether or not it involves the suspension of the governor, do you agree with former president Duterte’s comment that along the way, you will be political enemies and you can’t remove in that kind of situation?

PRESIDENT MARCOS:  I don’t consider him a political enemy. It takes two to tango. I don’t consider him a political enemy.

Q: Thank you, sir.

Q: Sir good evening po. Sir babalikan ko lang po ulit si former president Duterte. [laughs] The other day po, in his press conference, he claimed to have in his possession the documents of the government’s foreign policy, and sabi n’ya po he is reviewing all the agreements entered into by the government, particularly by the Department of Defense probably in connection with the South China Sea, and China. Given the chance sir, would you be willing to sit down with him and go over things with him regarding sa sinasabi n’ya?

PRESIDENT MARCOS:  Send it to me and then we’ll sit down. Send those documents to me. And then we’ll sit down and discuss it. I’ll do my homework first. That’s the way I work. I read all the materials first so that when I’m  actually in the meeting conference, I can ask intelligent questions.

So send me the materials, personally to me. ‘Wag na sa DOJ, sa DFA, ‘wag na. Sa akin, padala n’ya sa’kin. Marami kaming common na kaibigan. Send them to me. Pag-aralan ko. Mag-usap kami kung gusto n’ya.

Q: Sir, my last question, another issue po. Given the success of the just concluded trilateral summit with Japan and the United States, will there be a similar initiative in the pipeline with other ally nations of the Philippines? and, if so may feelers na po ba from other foreign governments?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: I’d rather not comment on that because if we discuss it. If there is something that we are planning, having it publicized might just get in the way of those discussions, so let me just, I guess what I’m saying is no comment. It’s rare for me to say no comment.

Q: Sir after almost two years in office, there have been talks from observers, including from netizens na rin from Facebook,  Twitter, Reddit. Your administration shares a lot of similarities with that of former president Noynoy Aquino.

PRESIDENT MARCOS:  Former President?

Q: Noynoy Aquino, PNoy, sir. Because of the great focus daw sa economy, ties with US, and fight for sovereignty of the West Philippine Sea. Tapos yung ano na rin, executive order sa wangwang sir, kasi na-re-relate nila doon dating administration, sir. Your thoughts on this sir?

PRESIDENT MARCOS: The Executive Order is not just about sirens, it’s about really the number of plates na binawasan namin na magkakaroon ng number plate para may special privileges. Kasi  ’yan Number 1, Number 2, ‘di ba, Number 3, 4, 5, tapos Supreme Court Justice, Associate Justices. They need, we should allow us, because, do you want me, for example, to sit in traffic for 3 hours? Sayang naman ang oras ko, andami kong pwedeng gawin. Andami kong hindi magagawa dahil naka–naiwan lang ako  dun. So that’s what really, that’s what this is about, So this is not about the wangwang, that’s a very small part of it. What it really is to, it is to impose discipline.

First, if we’re going to ask the driving public to be disciplined, to follow the rules of the road, and to be considerate of the other drivers on the road. To remember that driving is a privilege, it is not a right. So if we are going to ask ordinary citizens to do that, to keep that in mind, the very least we can do is have the government show a good example and then lead the way. That’s what that EO is really about.

Q: Pero yung parallels na nakikita ng mga tao, are you fine with that sir?

PRESIDENT MARCOS:  I don’t see it.  I don’t see it at all, because well, I just don’t see it.