By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte is set to join his fellow Southeast Asian leaders in a special meeting for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next week, Malacañang confirmed.
While unsure about what the President will be talking about during the meeting, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque confirmed that Duterte participate in the meeting that will be held online.
“Hindi ko pa po alam pero kinukumpirma ko po na dadalo po dahil ito naman po ay online meeting ng ASEAN. (I don’t know what are the issues he will raise but I can confirm that he will join because it will be online),” he said Thursday.
According to Roque, there are many meetings scheduled for next week but he assured the public that the Palace will disclose the agenda for each meeting.
“Marami po actually yung mga programa, hindi lang sa mga namumuno (There are actually a lot of meetings in the program, not just a meeting of the leaders),” he said.
“Anyway, in due course po, medyo next week pa naman po ‘yan, siguro po pupwede natin isapubliko yung mga agenda ng iba’t ibang ASEAN meetings (Anyway, it won’t happen until next week so maybe we can publicize the agenda of the different ASEAN meetings),” he added.
This would be the second time President Duterte will participate in an online meeting with ASEAN leaders. In April, President Duterte joined his fellow leaders in a meeting that centered on each member-countries’ efforts in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his intervention during the video conference, Duterte said trade among ASEAN member states should be maintained despite the pandemic as no country can survive on its own.
“ASEAN must remain open for trade. Crisis or no crisis, as no country can stand alone,” the President had said.
“Let us, therefore, ensure the supply chain connectivity and the smooth flow of goods within our region,” he added.
President Duterte was supposed to fly to Vietnam for the 36th ASEAN Summit but all of his overseas trips this year were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.