PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte is expected to attend all meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Thailand after missing major meetings last year due to “power naps,” the presidential palace said yesterday.
The president has been preparing for his appearance at this year’s 35th Asean Summit, Presidential Protocol chief Robert C. Borje said at a briefing. Mr. Duterte skipped a number of Asean meetings in Singapore last year to catch up on sleep.
“We are prepared for all of the meetings and we are working with the assumption that the president will be attending,” Mr. Borje said.
“If he’s going to miss any of the meetings, appropriate guidance will be given to us and a representative will be tasked,” he said, adding that the Foreign Affairs secretary will represent the president if he’s absent.
This comes after reports last week of Mr. Duterte suffering muscle spasms after falling from a motorcycle. Back pain forced the president to cut his Japan trip short last week. He missed the Japanese emperor’s banquet at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
Mr. Duterte was told by his doctors to take painkillers and limit his physical activities, Malacañang said. A few days after his checkup, Mr. Duterte was later seen in a motorcycle.
This year’s Asean summit will be held on Nov. 2 to 4. The Philippines will also attend the Asean Plus 3 Summit and the East Asia Summit, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Junever Mahilum-West said at the same briefing.
There will also be one-on-one summits with the United Nations (UN) and several countries including China, India, the US and Japan.
About 40 anticipated outcome documents are expected at the end of the summit that represent the culmination of Asean communities’ work in pursuit of a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable community, Ms. West said. — Gillian M. Cortez