Washington — Reagan announces he won't visit Philippines
President Reagan, citing pressing duties at home, called off Monday his scheduled visit to the Philippines during his Asia trip next month. Important bills facing the Congress in early November require the President's presence here, White House officials say.
But the key reason for the President to postpone his visit to the Philippines and to two other Southeast Asian nations during the Asia swing appears to be Reagan's security. Some experts predicted increased violence by demonstrators opposing Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos. Another reason for cancellation: The US does not wish to be seen by Filipinos as interfering in their domestic affairs at this time of tension.
Cancellation of the Reagan visit to the Philippines obviously amounts to a blow to President Marcos's prestige. But it may in the end be a blessing for the Philippines leader, some experts say, because the Reagan visit could have proven to be yet another focal point for further violence.
If things settle down, there is still a possibility that Reagan will visit the Philippines next year before or after a planned trip to China. But for the moment, in the Reagan administration's view, there appears to be little to gain and much to lose from a visit to the Philippines. The administration has softened the blow to President Marcos by also postponing visits to Indonesia and Thailand.