Metro Manila, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia revealed that the Philippines is not the only Southeast Asian country experiencing food shortage and rising prices of fuel and other commodities.

“What I learned in having attended this ASEAN Summit is that marami talagangcommonalities ang bawat bansa [the countries have many commonalities],” Marcos told reporters in Phnom Penh.

“That actually is a good thing because nag-a-agree kami na ito ‘yung mga talagang problema, ito ‘yung mga dapat unahin natin [we agree that these are the problems, that these are our priorities]. And it’s common. It’s price of food, the price of energy, the supply side problems,” he added.

Marcos said other leaders spoke about their respective country’s struggles with the effects of inflation, their initiatives for pandemic recovery, and how they could help each other in alleviating these difficulties.

They also discussed geopolitical issues, particularly the missile testing of North Korea, which Marcos denounced.

They also tackled developments in the South China Sea and how the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict is affecting Southeast Asia, especially in terms of shared problems in the supply of fertilizer and fuel as well as its subsequent effect on food prices.

“If we do all of the things that we’re supposed to do, if we put all the structural elements in place, we can go back to the pre-pandemic situation where the main driver of the global economy was Southeast Asia,” he added.

Marcos: ASEAN summit ‘very useful’

The recent ASEAN summit was Marcos’ first meeting with other Southeast Asian leaders and counterparts in partner countries. The chief executive arrived in the Philippines Monday morning.

“For me, it’s very useful, now I know all the members. Kilala ko na ang lahat ng mga leader ng ASEAN. At nakilala ko pa ‘yung foreign minister ng Russia [I already know all the ASEAN leaders. And I even met the foreign minister of Russia]. Siyempre si [Of course] President Joe Biden, this is our second meeting since New York,” he said.

“I’ve been to ASEAN summits before but not as president. I see the value of having these summits. This is an opportunity for all members and our dialogue partners,” he added.

Marcos said among the topics of meetings with business leaders were collaborations on food processing, energy, housing, garments, medical care, education, food security, and how the private sector could contribute.

The President also invited international business leaders to the country “to have a look at opportunities.”