Sara named caretaker; BBM lands in Indonesia

Former President Rodrigo Duterte used to appoint his executive secretary Salvador Medialdea to take his post while on foreign trips

Bon voyage President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. troops the line at NAIA Terminal 2 prior to his flight to Jakarta, Indonesia on Sunday for a state visit. | PHOTOGRAPH BY YUMMIE DINGDING FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE @tribunephl_yumi

September 5, 2022

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Sunday left the government under the care of Vice President Sara Z. Duterte after flying to Indonesia, the start of his three-day state visit that would also take him to Singapore.

Marcos designated the Vice President as officer-in-charge through Special Order 75.

Duterte was on hand to see off Marcos along with along with Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, Pasay Rep. Antonio Calixto and Pasay Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano.

In his first-ever overseas trip as president, Marcos was accompanied by his wife First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, his eldest son Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Sandro Marcos, and his first cousin House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

Also joining the trip were Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Budget Secretary AmenahPangandaman, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, BangkoSentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla, and Migrant Workers Affairs Secretary Susan Ople.

BBM meets Filipinos

Upon his arrival in Jakarta, the Chief Executive met with the Filipino community.

He thanked them for their support in the recent presidential elections.

“You supported me even though I was not able to campaign here. To compensate you even though you already voted, I will still campaign for you,” he said.

He said that the welfare of overseas Filipino workers will be prioritized by his administration.

“You can be assured that in 2023, the Department of Migrant Workers will be fully operational under the leadership of Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople,” he said.

As of June, there are a total of 7,451 Filipinos working in various sectors in Indonesia, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Most Filipinos hold managerial, technical, or professional level positions as company directors, engineers, accountants, supervisors and teachers.

In 2021, remittances from OFWs in Indonesia reached US$17.5 million.

Marcos is also set to meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and sign agreements on defense and security, creative economy, and culture.

“We will reaffirm our ties with fellow archipelagic nation, Indonesia, with whom we share an intensive maritime border in the south of the Philippines,” he said.

The agreements include the Philippines-Indonesia Plan of Action for the next five years, committing both countries to projects and activities.

Marcos said he plans to entice Indonesians to invest in the country’s agriculture and energy sectors.

In an earlier interview, Manalo said that the President will “most likely” bring up the case of Mary Jane Veloso during his meeting with Widodo.

Veloso is a Filipino on death row in Indonesia for drug trafficking charges.

She was set to be executed by firing squad in 2015, but Widodo decided to spare her life due to the last-minute appeal from the late President Benigno Aquino III.

On Tuesday, Marcos heads to Singapore for a two-day visit on the invitation of President HalimahYakob.

Marcos said he will meet Yakob to renew and deepen bilateral relations with the self-governed island, which is home to 200,000 Filipinos.

“I expect that we will be coming back with a harvest of business deals to be signed in my state visits that will further our economic ties with both Indonesia and Singapore,” he said.

While in Singapore, the President said he would seek to harness the potential of the two nations’ vibrant trade and investment relations.

VP Duterte as OIC

It is not the first time that a Filipino president designated the vice president as the government caretaker.

During her administration, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo named her VP Noli de Castro as caretaker when she visited other countries.

Under the directive, the Vice President could also “act for an on behalf of the President, except on matters that the President, is required by the Constitution to act (on) in person, during the time that the President’s is outside the Republic of the Philippines from 4 to 7 September 2022.”

“All acts of the Vice President for and on behalf of the President pursuant to this Order shall be deemed acts of the President unless disapproved and reprobated by the President,” it added.

It marked the first time in 12 years that the vice president was named caretaker by the president.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte used to appoint his executive secretary Salvador Medialdea to take his post while on foreign trips.

Aquino, on the other hand, designated then VP Jejomar Binay to represent him only in social functions while he was away, leaving the day-to-day operations to his then executive secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

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