By Ryan Ponce Pacpaco | Journal News Online
INCOMING President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos on Monday (June 6) met separately with ambassadors from Italy and different ASEAN countries during which they discussed expanded cooperation between the Philippines and their respective countries.
The ambassadors relayed congratulatory messages of their heads of state on his victory and affirmed their interest in improving bilateral and diplomatic relations between the Philippines and their countries.
Her Excellency (H. E.) Johairah Wahab and His Excellency (H. E.) Marco Clemente, Ambassadors of Brunei Darussalam and Italy, respectively, started the round of official visits for the day.
Afterward, Wahab, who is the Dean of ASEAN Ambassadors, led Thawat Sumitmo, Charge D’ Affaires of Thailand; and Ambassadors H.E. Songkane Luangmuninthone, Lao People’s Democratic Republic; and H.E. Agus Widjojo, Indonesia; H.E. Phan Peuv, Cambodia; H.E. Hoang Huy Chung, Vietnam; and H.E. Gerard Ho, Singapore to a meeting with Marcos.
One of the areas for cooperation discussed was the Covid19 response, including an exchange of strategies in the economic and health sectors geared towards post-pandemic recovery, which had been one of the priorities Marcos mentioned in his campaign.
Marcos also mentioned the possibility of strengthened collaboration in infrastructure-building, citing the current cooperation of countries like China in the Build, Build, Build program of the outgoing administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
For his part, the Italian ambassador shared his plan on improving people-to-people cooperation by bringing the Inter-Milan football club to the Philippines through its inter-campus project in the hope of helping children in need through sports and promoting football in the Philippines, at the same time.
Marcos and the ambassadors also agreed to expand diplomatic relations, not only government to government, but also through corporate and the private sector.