News Release

PBBM lauds Australia’s unwavering support for ASEAN

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday commended the Australian government for the success of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Melbourne as he extended his gratitude for its unwavering support to the Indo-Pacific region especially in terms of the summit’s four tracks.

“Through these 50 years, Australia has proven, time and again, its support for ASEAN as it continues its positive role in ensuring peace and stability in our region and our immediate neighborhood, now referred to as the Indo-Pacific,” President Marcos said in country statement during the summit’s “Leaders’ Plenary Session.”

President Marcos participated in the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Melbourne where he secured US$1.53 billion, or PhP86 billion business deals and met with the Filipino community, among other activities on the sidelines of the summit.

The chief executive also acknowledged Australia’s support in promoting the economic welfare of its neighbors as he welcomed its strategic approach to deepening engagement through the four tracks of the special summit namely maritime cooperation; climate and clean energy; emerging leaders; and business.

President Marcos thanked Australia for consistently supporting the rule of law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the 2016 Arbitral Award not only through statements, but also through capacity-building and academic initiatives to mainstream appreciation of international law.

“In ASEAN, Australia has consistently supported all ASEAN-led mechanisms through these 50 years. We appreciate the evolution of Australia’s strategic approach towards the region from the mere confines of the Asia-Pacific to our now wider common interests in the Indo-Pacific,” President Marcos said.

“We thus encourage Australia to continue its active engagement both bilaterally and through ASEAN to ensure the primacy of peace and stability through confidence building, preventive diplomacy, and conflict resolution in the region,” he added.

On climate and clean energy, President Marcos highlighted the efforts of the Philippines in taking “bold and decisive actions” both domestically and in international fora for climate change as it remains vulnerable to the harsh effects of climate change.

The President said the Philippines welcomes the outcomes of the COP28, or the 28th Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Dubai last year.

President Marcos reiterated the offer to host the Board of the Loss and Damage Fund.

“Hosting the Board in the Philippines would showcase global commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that the voices and experiences of the most affected countries are heard and considered in shaping the most urgent of global climate policies,” Marcos said.

He also welcomed Australia’s efforts to boost clean energy trade, financing and investment in ASEAN, and its support for clean energy transition to meet climate action objectives in the region.

“In the Philippines, we have taken concrete actions by implementing policies and initiatives to reduce emissions by catalyzing investments in our rich sources of renewable energy,” President Marcos said.

President Marcos also invited Australia to partner with the Philippines in terms of the country’s clean, green and renewable energy industry and other emerging technologies, and introduce energy efficiency and conservation measures in the country.

He also urged Australia to continue supporting the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) beyond 2024.

“As we develop the ASEAN-Australia Plan of Action 2025-2029, let us take into account the pressing need for an effective and inclusive implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and establishment of its goals and targets on biodiversity conservation, climate action, ecosystems and— ecosystems restoration and its management,” President Marcos stressed.

The ACB is also implementing the Mainstreaming Biodiversity into the One Health Capacity development project, a partnership among ASEAN, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Australian Government” he added.

In terms of the business aspect, President Marcos disclosed before the ASEAN leaders that the Philippines has signed the second protocol to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), which he said, will continue to respond “to the evolving multidimensional challenges” in the business environment.

President Marcos added the agreement will also complement region-to-region efforts to strengthen supply chain resilience, the expansion of trade and investment, inclusivity, and sustainable development.

“The Protocol will indeed benefit micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) inasmuch as it facilitates their participation in international trade by improving their access to markets and participation in the global value chains, as well as promoting the use of e-commerce,” he said.

“With the momentum from the CEO Forum yesterday, and AANZFTA together with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, we are confident that we will usher in even more robust economic cooperation within our region and provide a legal framework for a more prosperous future,” he added.

The President also welcomed Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, which aims to broaden and deepen the economic ties between ASEAN and Australia as he emphasized that the Philippines is looking forward to expanding the collaboration with Australia on agriculture, food security, digital economy, infrastructure, tourism and healthcare, among others.

Before concluding his speech, President Marcos highlighted the important role of the “Emerging Leaders in shaping the world” as he commended Australia for creating a forum for engagement intended for leaders in government, business and civil society.

“We hope this engagement will trigger a conversation on the issues facing our region and how they may be addressed through cooperation and partnership. Our emerging leaders are indeed the bedrock of the sustainability of our continued economic, social, and political progress,” President Marcos said.

The above-mentioned thematic tracks will augur well towards the peace and prosperity of ASEAN and Australia, as well as the whole Indo-Pacific, and we look forward to supporting these initiatives as we usher the next fifty years of vibrant relations,” he added.

The Philippines and Australia have elevated its bilateral relationship from comprehensive to strategic partnership during the visit of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to Manila in September last year. PND