Mr. Reagan's decision to skip a courtesy call on the Marcos regime next month was the right one - given the turmoil in the Philippines at the moment. Not going preserves the President's own safety and withholds a gesture of accommodation from the repressive, tottering Marcos government. Go or not, however, the President must forthwith take steps to provide for a moderate succession in the Philippines, crucial to United States security projection in the southeast Pacific. The US, which accounts for nearly half of Philippine exports and a third of its imports, has economic leverage to offset its dependence on the Philippines for military bases.
US relations with Japan and South Korea, the remaining countries on his early November itinerary, are enough to justify his trip. The Marcos-appointed commission's inquiry into the Aquino assassination has no credibility. Not going is a comment on the lack of progress in extending human rights to all Filipinos.