The AP Interview: Marcos wishes to ‘reintroduce’ Philippines

NEW YORK (AP) — Searching to “reintroduce the Philippines“ to the globe, new President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ambitious programs for his nation on the global phase and at dwelling — if, that is, the twin specters of pandemic and climate adjust can be defeat or at least managed.

And if he can surmount the legacies of two people: his predecessor, and his father.

He also needs to strengthen ties with both the United States and China — a delicate balancing act for the Southeast Asian nation — and, like many of his fellow leaders at the United Nations this week, known as on the international locations that have prompted world wide warming to assist a lot less rich nations counteract its outcomes.

Marcos, swept into office this spring, is by now drawing distinctions both of those refined and apparent involving himself and his voluble predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, who alienated a lot of international associates with his violent solution to battling drug trafficking and the coarse rhetoric he utilized to galvanize supporters.

Requested if Duterte went way too significantly with his lethal drug crackdown, Marcos redirected the criticism towards those who carried out the system.

“His persons went as well considerably sometimes,” Marcos explained to The Linked Press on Friday. “We have seen a lot of cases the place policemen, other operatives, some have been just shady figures that we didn’t really know in which they arrived from and who they ended up functioning for. But now we’ve gone immediately after them.”

Marcos, 65, sat for a wide-ranging job interview in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. Common Assembly’s annual leaders’ meeting. A few months into his administration, he appeared energetic and enthusiastic — and keen to project his eyesight for the nation outside of its borders.

On Thursday, he met with U.S. President Joe Biden in a bid to improve the occasionally difficult ties that have ebbed and flowed between the two nations because the Philippines spent four many years as an American colony in the early 20th century.

“There have been bits and parts wherever they were not possibly suitable,” Marcos explained. “But in the finish, that all round trajectory has been to fortify and bolster and bolster our romance.”

In addition to Duterte, Marcos also should attract distinctions between himself and the most iconic figure in the Philippines’ general public sphere: his late father, whose name he shares. Ferdinand Marcos Sr., hero to some and plundering dictator to some others, dominated from the 1960s to the 1980s, which includes a tumultuous time period of martial legislation and repression. He manufactured the spouse and children reputation an indelible element of Filipino record.

Addressing the relatives legacy instantly is some thing the son has been loath to do, at minimum explicitly, nevertheless he vehemently rejects use of the phrase “dictator” to describe his father’s rule, To him, the political baggage of his parents is a remnant of the past.

“I did not indulge in any of that political again-and-forth concerning the Marcos household,“ he said. ”All I spoke about was, ‘What are we heading to do to get into a improved area?’ And people today responded.”

Partaking, he said, would have simply just been a retread — and an needless a single. “It does not aid. It does not adjust just about anything,“ he claimed. ”So what is the level?”

The elder Marcos placed the Philippines less than martial legislation in 1972, a calendar year just before his time period was to expire. He padlocked Congress and newspaper offices, requested the arrest of political opponents and activists and dominated by decree. Thousands of Filipinos disappeared beneath his rule some have never ever been accounted for.

When it arrives to his predecessor, Marcos treads a nuanced political line as very well. Distinguishing himself from Duterte’s in-your-deal with rule can advantage him at property and internationally, but Duterte’s reputation served catapult him into workplace, and the former president’s daughter Sara is Marcos’ vice president.

The extrajudicial killings involved with Duterte’s yearslong crackdown provoked phone calls that his administration should really be investigated from the outside, and he vowed not to rejoin the Global Criminal Court docket — a principle that Marcos agrees with. Right after all, Marcos asked, why really should a state with a performing legal program be judged from elsewhere?

“We have a judiciary. It is not best,“ he stated. “I do not fully grasp why we will need an exterior adjudicator to inform us how to look into, who to examine, how to go about it.”

Marcos solid the coronavirus pandemic as numerous other leaders have — as a balancing act between trying to keep people secure and making certain everyday living can force forward.

“We took a very extreme place in the Philippines, and we sooner or later had the longest lockdown in any country in the entire world,“ he said. ”That was the option of the past govt. And now, we are now coming out of it.”

In new times, he has equally taken off a nationwide mandate to dress in masks outdoor and extended a “state of calamity” — some thing he reported he did not automatically want to do, but retaining the declaration in put permits far more people to continue acquiring aid.

“It’s not pretty encouraging when people search at your region and they see, ‘Well, it is under a state of calamity.’ Which is not fantastic for travelers. It is not superior for website visitors. It is not excellent for company,” Marcos mentioned.

Encouraging ties with China, notably specified Beijing’s intense maritime procedures, could possibly be a overwhelming prospect for a country so closely and traditionally aligned with the United States. But, Marcos suggests, it is achievable — and essential.

“It is a pretty high-quality line that we have to tread in the Philippines,” the president said. “We do not subscribe to the previous Cold War ‘spheres of affect.’ … So it is actually guided by national curiosity, number a single. And second, the maintenance of peace.”

Peace will come in quite a few flavors. Very last 7 days, Marcos traveled to the southern component of the country — a predominantly Muslim spot of a predominantly Catholic state — to categorical help for a multiyear energy to assist a onetime rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Entrance, give up their guns and govern their autonomous area effectively.

Even though Moro has occur into the federal government fold, more compact militant groups including the violent Abu Sayyaf have continued to combat the government and wage sporadic assaults, primarily in impoverished rural regions with weak regulation enforcement. Marcos dismissed Abu Sayyaf as a team that no lengthier has a result in other than “banditry.”

“I really don’t believe that they are a movement any longer. They are not battling for anything,” Marcos mentioned. “They are just criminals.”

Marcos did not specify exactly why the Philippines wanted to be reintroduced, although the country’s impression took a strike from 2016 to 2022 underneath the Duterte administration.

“The intent, actually, that I have brought to this take a look at right here in New York … has been to check out to reintroduce the Philippines to our American good friends, equally in the private sector and in the community sector,” he explained.

And just after the pandemic really ends, he reported, the country needs to come across a fruitful route and stick to it.

“We have to posture ourselves. We have to be clever about forecasting, getting a bit prescient,” he explained.

“We do not want to return to whatever it is we had been performing pre-pandemic,“ Marcos mentioned. ”We want to be capable to be concerned and be a crucial aspect of the new worldwide economic system, of the new international political circumstance.”


Ted Anthony, AP’s director of new storytelling and newsroom innovation, was Asia-Pacific news director from 2014 to 2018, centered in Bangkok. Adhere to him on Twitter at and, for far more AP coverage of the UNGA, check out

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