By Darryl John Esguerra

MEETING WITH GERMAN BUSINESS LEADERS. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. meets with top German businessmen during the Philippine-Germany Business Forum in Berlin on Tuesday (March 12, 2024). The Philippines has secured at least USD4 billion (PHP222 billion) worth of investments in various sectors during President Marcos’ three-day working visit to Germany. (Photo from Presidential Communications Office)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. dismissed former President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades against his foreign trips, saying there is no time for sightseeing during his packed working schedule overseas.

Marcos, currently in a two-country swing in Central Europe, pointed to his compressed schedule consisting of official functions such as meetings with his counterparts and foreign business leaders when asked about allegations that he is just sightseeing or “making pasyal” in his trips abroad.

Ito ‘yung schedule ko. San ‘yung pasyal? (This is my schedule. Where is the sightseeing there?) This is my schedule for today,” President Marcos told reporters Wednesday concerning his schedule on his trip to Germany.

Where’s the pasyal? Wala, you know, kasama kayo dyan, kasama niyo kami. We don’t make pasyal (Where’s the sightseeing? You know there’s none, you can see it for yourselves because you are with us). Even in the places that I know where I have spent a lot of time with, hindi ko na napupuntahan ‘yung mga dati kong pinupuntahan (I haven’t gone to places where I once go) because we’re here to do this,” he said.

During his working visit to Germany, Marcos secured at least USD4 billion or PHP220 billion worth of investment deals.

His recent trips to Australia also yielded USD53 billion, or PHP86 billion worth of investments, covering diverse sectors such as renewable energy, clean technology, and recycling solutions, housing, IT-BPM infrastructure, medical devices, and digital health services.

He also met with Australian business leaders and launched the expansion of the Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT), a subsidiary of the International Container Terminal Services Incorporated (ICTSI) in the Philippines on the sidelines of his participation in the 50th ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.

According to the Department of Trade and Investment, Marcos’ foreign trips have resulted in USD72.2 billion in investments at different stages, comprising 148 projects as of December 2023.

Duterte’s latest attacks on the President came during a recent prayer rally for embattled religious leader Pastor Apollo Quiboloy at Liwasang Bonifacio.

There, Duterte questioned Marcos’ foreign trips. He also claimed that his successor only supports Charter Change (Cha-cha) to push for term extension.

Duterte’s confusing stance on Charter change

Marcos said Duterte’s conflicting remarks about Cha-cha is confusing as the former president, just last month, expressed support for the push to amend the economic restrictions of the Constitution.

He said he has to examine first Duterte’s comment, knowing the former chief executive has been known for his inconsistency in his statements.

Na-co-confuse ako kay PRRD papalit-palit eh (I’m confused with former president Dutete. His stance is changing),” Marcos said.

“So, we will, tignan ko muna kung ano ba talaga ang sinabi niya para maintindihan ko. I think, hindi ko talaga naintindihan kasi parang naiiba bawat salita niya (I will have to examine first what he really meant by that. I don’t really understand because he’s always changing his remarks). So, I will try to make sense of it,” he added.

No personal issue with Duterte

Despite the recent tirades from Duterte, Marcos clarified he does not have any issues with his predecessor, saying he knows how to handle personal issues, as well as other issues related to his work.

“So, like I told you many times before, hindi ako namemersonal. Para sa akin, hindi naman madali, pero nahihiwalay ko ‘yung trabaho at saka ‘yung personal (I don’t make it personal. For me, it’s not easy, but I can separate work and personal life). So, I don’t see a problem there,” Marcos said.

He even extended his birthday greetings to Duterte, who is set to turn 78 years old later this month.

“We will, of course, wish him a happy birthday, and many happy returns. At talaga namang that is, alam mo naman tayong mga Pilipino ginagalang natin ‘yung mga very important occasions na ganyan (And us Filipinos, you know, we really respect important occasions like that),” Marcos said. (PNA)