By Darryl John Esguerra

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. left Manila on Wednesday afternoon to attend the historic trilateral summit in Washington DC between the Philippines, the United States (US), and Japan.

Marcos’ plane took off at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City at 2:56 p.m., according to the Presidential Communications Office.

He is set to meet with his counterparts, US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, in their first-ever trilateral summit, where he is expected to highlight the economic, defense, and maritime cooperation with the two countries, among other concerns.

In his departure speech , Marcos said the summit builds upon his previous meetings with Prime Minister Kishida and US Vice President Kamala Harris last September in Jakarta, Indonesia, as well as the trilateral meetings held by the foreign ministers and the national security advisers of the three countries last year.

During the summit, the President said he will underscore the importance of enhancing continued economic cooperation among the countries with the view of promoting resilience and security.

“I intend to explore ways of advancing cooperation especially in the areas of critical infrastructure, semiconductors, digitalization, and cybersecurity, critical minerals, renewable energy, as well as defense and maritime cooperation,” he said.

Marcos said he will also exchange views with his counterparts on various “regional security issues of mutual concern while continuing to reiterate the importance of upholding the rule of law and observing rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region.”

On the sidelines of the three-country summit, the President is also expected to have a bilateral meeting with Biden, where they will continue the discussions on strengthening further the alliance between the Philippines and the US.

Marcos will also meet with business leaders in the US to invite them to invest in the Philippines.

Vice President Sara Duterte, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, and Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella have been designated as government caretakers during the President’s US visit. (PNA)