Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr grateful over Switzerland’s continued support for BARMM

2023 June 21

FAREWELL CALL. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. receives Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Alain Gaschen in a farewell call at the Study Room of Malacañan Palace in Manila on Wednesday (June 21, 2023). Gaschen paid a farewell call, as he concludes his almost four-year diplomatic posting in the Philippines.


MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday expressed his gratitude to the Swiss government for its commitment to continue providing support for the development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

This, after Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Alain Gaschen, in a farewell call on Marcos at Malacañan Palace in Manila, relayed Switzerland’s pledge for continued assistance to the Bangsamoro Region.

During the farewell call, Gaschen acknowledged that BARMM needs help in addressing land, justice and reconciliation issues.

“So, it needs to be taken seriously and with the proper attention from Manila, and I think… I know from the different ministries they have basis to support addressing those issues,” Gaschen told Marcos, as quoted by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).

Marcos assured Gaschen that the BARMM parliament, local governments and the national government seek lasting development in the region.

“I think with the Philippines and Switzerland, we have had always a very good close relationship in many, many ways. And I cannot forget the involvement that the Swiss government had in chairing the Bangsamoro Transitional Council and that was a very important role that you played in the success of what we are now continuing to implement in terms of the peace process in southern Philippines, in BARMM,” he said.

“So for that, we are eternally grateful and I hope that Switzerland continues its moral support and others for what we are trying to do,” Marcos added.

Marcos said everyone is working to address the present challenge in putting together the BARMM’s electoral code, local government code and all the basic laws in terms of the administrative structure.

He also pledged to listen to the sentiments of some individuals or factions in the Bangsamoro Region to prevent them from resorting to violence.

He said it might take time to make the development plan in BARMM “successful and peaceful.”

“And slowly we have just begun with the process because we have to redirect the entire government. This is not an easy thing to do. The government is a very big… It takes several kilometers before you can change direction, that’s a little bit of the government,” Marcos said.

Food security, energy sufficiency

Meantime, Gaschen lauded the thrust of the Marcos administration toward food security and energy sufficiency, stressing that the Philippines has “all ingredients and the crops for a successful agriculture sector.”

“You have a huge potential for a single fact that you can produce better, with all the best crops, and use them in sustainable ways. It’s just not the case in other countries. You can also have a niche,” he said.

“You can be sustainable, and organic, and you can add value and that is required from the markets. I encourage you to do that and add value,” Gaschen added.

Gaschen also said that increasing investment in green and renewable energy is vital in bringing down power cost and adding more manufacturing.

Marcos said energy security is a “high priority” for the Philippines, adding that long lead time should not be a hindrance to the implementation of new energy projects.

“That means that we should start as quickly as possible,” he said.

Gaschen assumed his post as Ambassador-designate of the Swiss Confederation to the Philippines on Aug. 4, 2019.

Prior to his appointment, Gaschen was the Deputy Head of Mission of the Swiss Embassy in Beijing. He also served in various diplomatic missions of the Swiss Confederation in Maputo, Bogotá, and Paris, and also became the non-resident Ambassador to Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

Present during the farewell call were Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Maria Elena Algabre, Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of European Affairs director Jose Garcia III, and Swiss Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Thimon Fürst. 

Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)