By Darryl John Esguerra

OFF TO BRUNEI, SINGAPORE. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. delivers his departure speech at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on Tuesday (May 28, 2024). Marcos is headed to Brunei Darussalam for a two-day state visit and Singapore for a defense summit. (PNA photo by Darryl John Esguerra)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday morning headed to Brunei Darussalam for a two-day state visit and Singapore for a defense summit.

Marcos will be in Brunei until Wednesday upon the invitation of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah.

The President is expected to hold bilateral meetings with the Brunei Sultanate and visit the Filipino community there where an estimated 25,000 Filipinos are residing.

In his departure speech, Marcos said he would meet with Sultan Bolkiah upon his arrival in Brunei to “review the progress of our bilateral cooperation and explore mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborations.”

He said he would also discuss defense and regional security with the Brunei leader.

“I will discuss with His Majesty ways for further cooperation with Brunei in ensuring the defense of our countries and of our region,” the President said.

A Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Cooperation will be signed during his visit, which coincides with the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, he added.

After his Brunei visit, the President will proceed to Singapore from May 30 to 31 to speak at the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue.

The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue is an annual intergovernmental security forum, which is participated in by defense and military officials and experts, as well as business leaders to discuss critical security challenges around the globe.

Marcos will be the first Filipino president to deliver a keynote address at the dialogue.

During his Singapore visit, Marcos said he would invite the city-state’s new Prime Minister Lawrence Wong Shyun Tsai and new President Tharman Shanmugaratnam to visit the Philippines to further strengthen bilateral relations.

“Hangad ko po na sa aking pag-uwi dito ay may hatid kaming pasalubong na magandang balita mula sa aming pagbisita sa Brunei at sa Singapore (I hope to return with good news from our visit to Brunei and Singapore),” Marcos said. (PNA)