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Marcos flying to Indonesia, Singapore on first foreign trip

MANILA, Philippines (AP) Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will happen to be Indonesia and Singapore on his first overseas trip since taking office in June to strengthen security ties and discuss problems confronting the spot, including strife in Myanmar, officials said Friday.

Marcos Jr. may also fly to america to speak at the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 20, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Teresita Daza said within an online news conference.

Marcos Jr. will meet his Indonesian counterpart, Joko Widodo, throughout a three-day state visit starting Sunday.

Both leaders will witness the signing of several agreements, like the renewal of an expired 1997 pact governing defense activities from joint training to cooperation on border security, Daza said.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo, who’ll accompany the president, will meet separately with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Sunday.

Manalo has said that Marcos Jr. intends to improve the case of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino housemaid on death row in Indonesia on drug trafficking charges. Arrested in 2010, Veloso has claimed innocence, saying she was duped into carrying a suitcase containing 2.6 kilograms (5.7 pounds) of heroin.

In Singapore, Marcos Jr. will meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Halimah Yacob throughout a two-day state visit that starts Tuesday.

He and Lee will witness the signing of accords on counterterrorism and data protection and privacy, Daza said.

The Philippine leader may also meet potential investors in Singapore and Indonesia, she said.

His talks in both countries includes regional issues such as for example long-unresolved territorial disputes in the South China Sea relating to the Philippines, China and four other claimants, and the turmoil in Myanmar, Philippine diplomats said.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which include the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore, has been under international pressure to accomplish more to get rid of violence and free political prisoners in Myanmar, which also is one of the 10-nation bloc.

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