‘I am dedicated to serving the Philippines, not the US or China’

President Marcos emphasized his administration’s commitment to a rules-based order during a meeting with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyte at the 21st Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. He expressed that the Philippines faces challenges that require international cooperation without being subservient to any specific country.

In his brief discussions with Šimonyte, President Marcos stated, “I work for Manila. I work for the Philippines,” highlighting his independence from major powers like Beijing, Washington, and Moscow. Šimonyte, in response, voiced her support for the Philippines’ advocacy for an international rules-based order to uphold peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region.

The President addressed the ongoing disputes in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) between the Philippines and China, as well as Lithuania’s conflicts with Russia. He underscored the importance of abiding by international law to resolve differences and maintain peace.

Speaker Martin Romualdez anticipated more nations joining the call for a rule-based order in the WPS following Marcos’s keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue. Romualdez praised the President’s message for galvanizing international support for a peaceful Indo-Pacific region, emphasizing the country’s commitment to peace, sovereignty, and the rule of law.

In response to concerns raised by fisherfolk in Zambales regarding tensions in the WPS, Romualdez assured the protection of Filipinos against any bullying or harassment. He stated, “We will use all the powers we have to keep them safe.” The reassurance came after a public consultation meeting held by House committees on national defense and security and the WPS.

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