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PBBM among most influential leaders in SE Asia – Aussie think tank

MANILA: – An Australian independent think tank hailed President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for emerging ‘one of the most interesting, influential and closely watched leaders’ in Southeast Asia since he assumed office in June 2022.

Lowy Institute Executive Director Dr. Michael Fullilove on Monday said President Marcos’ address before the Australian Parliament on Feb. 29 emphasized his crucial role as a regional leader in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).

‘If there’s anyone who thinks individuals don’t matter in politics, I’d invite them to look at the changes in the Philippines in the past 18 months, in particular the way that Manila has become so much more determined to defend its sovereignty,’ Dr. Fullilove said at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

During his speaking engagement at the Lowy Institute, President Marcos was applauded for strongly standing his ground on the West Philippine Sea disputes.

‘We shall never surrender even a square inch of our territory and our
maritime jurisdiction,’ President Marcos said, adding that the Philippine government is upgrading its capabilities to defend its sovereignty.

‘In this regard, we are upgrading the capabilities of our Coast Guard and pursuing the modernization of our Armed Forces. And earlier this year, I approved the updated acquisition plan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines called Re-Horizon 3, in line with our Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept,’ the President added.

President Marcos also stressed that ‘our forces must be able to guarantee, to the fullest extent possible, Filipino nationals, Philippine corporations, and those authorized by the Philippine Government, unimpeded and peaceful exploration and exploitation of all natural resources in areas where we have jurisdiction.’

These include the Philippines’ ‘exclusive economic zone, in accordance with international law,’ President Marcos said.

‘We are on the frontline of international efforts to preserve, defend, and uphold the rules-based international o
rder — the same platform from which the postwar Asian economic miracles took off, and upon which the continued prosperity of countries like Australia relies,’ the President said.

‘We, in the Indo-Pacific, cannot ignore the existential impact of great power rivalries upon the survival of our peoples and our communities,’ he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency