By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard
Singapore President Halimah Yacob has invited presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for a state visit, more than a month before he becomes the Philippines’ 17th president.
The invitation came barely a day after Marcos and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a lengthy talk, during which they discussed improving the two countries’ bilateral ties.
In a letter sent to Marcos, the Singaporean president also congratulated Marcos on his election victory.
Yacob said she is looking forward to closer ties with the Philippines.
“Singapore and the Philippines share a warm and longstanding relationship, underpinned by strong economic cooperation and robust people-to-people ties,” Yacob said.
“I recall fondly the warm and gracious hospitality extended to me by the Filipino people during my state visit to the Philippines in September 2019. I look forward to working with you to strengthen the friendship between our two countries,” she said in her letter.
“I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to make a state visit to Singapore. I wish you every success in steering the Philippines to greater heights,” the president added.
The Singapore president joins the growing roster of world leaders who congratulated Marcos.
Marcos is expected to be proclaimed next week after garnering more than 31 million votes while his nearest rival has only received more than 14 million votes, based on 98.35 percent of election returns from the Comelec Transparency Media Server.
Meanwhile, two large business groups—the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport)—have called on the nation to “give the new administration a chance,” saying they are willing to work in partnership with the incoming government toward positive change.
The appeal came in a joint written statement signed by Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr., president of both ECOP, representing the voice of employers in the country, and Philexport, the umbrella organization of exporters.
Ortiz-Luis said that with the intense period of campaigning and national elections now over, “it is time to settle down and go back to work” amid the many challenges facing the economy and the country.
“We have businesses to revive and sustain; employees to provide salaries to and an economy to nourish to progress,” the statement, issued May 12, said.
“Work also means continuing to push our recovery and reform agenda to neutralize the impacts of the still threatening COVID-19 pandemic, a fragile economic recovery, increasing fuel prices that impact on all products and services, and rising foreign debts.”
The two organizations also bared their expectations from the new government.
“We do not expect the incoming public officials to solve all these problems even in six years. But we strongly hope that having been given the mandate and consistent with their election promises, they continue to build on the strong fundamentals and gains of the outgoing administration and closely involve key stakeholders in addressing the remaining gaps and challenges,” the statement said.
“Thus, as far as business is concerned, we remain a willing government partner as engines of positive change and growth. We expect this collaboration to continue and strengthen as we work closely with the incoming administration.”
“Together, let us give this new administration a chance. Together, let us bring to successful completion our common cause towards rebuilding better and stronger. This much we owe our country, our children, and generations to come,” the statement concluded.