Blinken to visit Manila next month, PBBM slated for 2 visits to US this year

US State Secretary Antony Blinken will visit Manila next month, to further push for more bilateral relations in the light of global uncertainties and economic turmoil brought by the war in Ukraine and the pandemic.

Philippine Ambassador to Washington DC Jose Manuel Romualdez said Blinken’s visit to the Philippines is timed with his participation in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Cambodia.

The US is one of the dialogue partners of Asean and also attends post-ministerial Asean meetings.

Blinken is now in Bali, Indonesia, attending the G70 foreign ministers’ meeting.

In September, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is expected to fly to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

Then in October, the Philippine president will fly to Washington DC for a state visit, upon the invitation of President Biden. 

Marcos’ visit to the US has been highly anticipated because his predecessor, President Duterte, has snubbed invitations to visit the US. Also, Marcos has a standing warrant of arrest in the US after the US District Court of Hawaii and the US Court of Appeals cited him for criminal contempt for failure to pay human rights victims during martial law who had filed a class suit in the US.

US State Department Deputy State Secretary Wendy Sherman said President Marcos has diplomatic immunity, and will not be arrested while on official or state visit, being a head of state of the Philippines.

Marcos was invited to attend the Fourth of July reception at the US Embassy in Manila Friday night. But hours before that, Malacanang announced he contracted Covid-19. 

“We wish the new President a good health and safe recovery,” US Charge d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava said during her toast at the start of the reception attended by the diplomatic community, American community, government officials, distinguished members of the business community and media.