ZURICH, Switzerland — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has called on Asia-Pacific countries to start charting their own destiny far from the intense geopolitical rivalry in the region.
President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. (Malacañang photo)


Marcos said this during a luncheon hosted for him and Filipino business leaders by the economic team in Davos. The President is in Switzerland for the 2023 World Economic Forum (WEF).

In his speech, President Marcos said Asia-Pacific countries face pressure to take sides due to intense geopolitical tension in the region. However, he said the region should not embrace the Cold War mentality, which dictates that they must choose sides.

The Cold War forced countries to choose whether to be under the Soviet Union or the United States spheres of influence.

“I think we are determined as a group in ASEAN and in the Indo-Pacific, those around the Indo-Pacific, despite all of this conflict, we are determined to stay away from that,” Marcos told the gathering.

“Because we are anchored in the idea that the future of the Indo-Pacific, the future of Asia-Pacific, cannot be determined by anyone but the countries of the Asia-Pacific. That removes us immediately from that idea that you must choose; we choose our friends, we choose our neighbors, that’s the choice that we will make,” he added.

At the same time, President Marcos highlighted the tendency for nations to move toward nationalism and protectionism because of present crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Pointing to the Philippines as an example, the President said the pandemic brought the country back to the basics, in which it could no longer depend on importation to survive.

“We have to strengthen our own local economy to be able to withstand shocks. There is a tendency of protectionism in that because we take care first of our own businesses, we take care first of our own industries, we take care first of our own economy,” Marcos argued.

Although there are some disruptions he described as “a very big bump on the road,” the President predicted that the world would find itself on the path toward globalization.

“I think the tendency after things have settled, after countries such as the Philippines, have put in place the elements of policy, the elements of legislation that are necessary to be able to adjust to what is the new coming economy, once that is in place, I think that the globalization will start — we will start to return to the tendency of globalization. I think it is inevitable,” Marcos said.