By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
SINGAPORE—President Duterte has arrived here for his attendance at the three-day 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related summits.
Duterte’s private plane landed at the Changi Airport at 8:23 p.m. Monday from Davao City. He is welcomed by Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph Del Mar Yap and Singapore Mnister of State Sam Tan. The President is scheduled to depart for Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea for the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum on Thursday evening.
Joining the official Philippine delegation are Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, and Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista.
Also joining Duterte for the Summit are National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar, Philippine Permanent Representative to ASEAN Elizabeth Buensuceso, and Yap.
Based on his schedule, Duterte will have a busy Tuesday evening as he set to attend five ASEAN events, including the working dinner and the Summit Plenary.
On Wednesday, ASEAN leaders will have their separate summits with Australia, China, South Korea, Russia, and Japan. A working lunch hosted by ASEAN Chairman Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will also take place on Wednesday. The second Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit will also be held on the said day.
The Southeast Asian leaders on Thursday will have their separate summits with India, and the United States. They will also hold the ASEAN Plus Three Summit, and the East Asia Summit in the afternoon before the closing of the 33rd ASEAN Summit and the ceremonial turnover of the chairmanship to the Kingdom of Thailand.
According to Panelo, the Summit will be an opportunity for the Philippine government to join in discussions pertaining to the progress of the ASEAN Community blueprints and in bringing ASEAN closer to the realization of a people-centered ASEAN Community.
“Similarly, the related summits in Singapore will give the President the chance to witness the progress of ASEAN’s relations with its dialogue partners, with the goal of fostering deeper cooperation on priority areas including peace, security, economy, and overall well-being of our people,” he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier said Duterte is expected to discuss several key issues that affect the southeast Asian region during the three-day Summit. These issues include micro, small and medium enterprises; infrastructure development; economic integration, economic building, and economic community, and economic cooperation; connectivity.
Non-traditional issues like countering terrorism, violent extremism, combating illicit drugs, and trafficking in persons will also be discussed.
The DFA said that the Philippines is also interested in women and youth development, disaster management, climate change, and people-to-people exchanges.