MOHAMMED ALKANDARI WRITES – Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. needed only a few months, after his swearing in as the 17th president of the Philippines, to prove that he would be a better leader than his dictatorial father. As the son of a tyrant synonymous with violence and corruption, Marcos Jr. inherited a tainted family reputation. Yet there is immense hope that he is showing a commitment to peace, economic development, and prosperity.
When Marcos Jr. recently met with U.S President Joe Biden, he pledged the Philippines’ commitment to being “a friend to all and an enemy to none”- unlike his father, former President Ferdinand Marcos, who presided over the looting of public coffers, corruption, and human rights abuses. Biden affirmed during the meeting the US administration’s “ironclad commitment to defend the Philippines.”
Biden and Marcos Jr. made other key agreements, such as: enhanced cooperation to bolster energy security, which will ensure that critical sectors of the economy operate efficiently, as well as climate action and infrastructure development. In addition, as the Philippines was one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic – and even though most parts of the world are recovering well from the pandemic – Marcos Jr. decided to extend the calamity measure enacted by his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte due to continuing concerns about its effects. Re-assessment of the necessity for citizens to wear masks indoors will take place at the end of the year when more are fully immunized with the booster vaccine.
Lastly, Marcos Jr.’s recent speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA), in which he called for unity, was a testament to his desire to make the Philippines and the world a better place. He observed that “the future beckons, and we can embark upon that journey as single nations or as a world in harmony” – a crucial statement, as the world grapples with the war in Ukraine, threatening international peace and disrupting supply chains.
The future of the Philippines under Marcos Jr. certainly promises a call for stability and unity across the globe. Will his actions follow his words? Let’s hope so.