By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said President Duterte will be busy attending to different meetings with his fellow Southeast Asian leaders on Friday, June 26 for the 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
In his Monday presser, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the leaders will have a lot to talk about on Friday.
He likewise enumerated the different ASEAN-related activities that will take place on the said day:
- Opening of the 36th ASEAN Summit
- ASEAN Leaders Special Session on Women’s Empowerment
- ASEAN Leaders Interface with Representatives of ASEAN Interparliamentary Assembly
- ASEAN Leaders Interface with Representatives of ASEAN Youth
- ASEAN Leaders Interface with Representatives of ASEAN Business Advisory Council
- Press conference of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, chairman of the 36th ASEAN Summit
“It will take the whole day po on Friday. So it’s a full schedule po for the President on Friday,” Roque said.
“Nandoon po ako. Hindi ko alam kung natutuwa ako o hindi (I will be there. I don’t know if I should be happy about it or not),” he jested.
However, Roque said it was not sure if there will be a different Summit to discuss the ASEAN-China dialogue that is chaired President Duterte.
“Wala pong special session para sa pag-uulat (There will be no special session where President Duterte can report) on his chairmanship of China-related matters,” he said.
“Siguro papasok po ‘yan sa meeting mismo ng heads of states ng ASEAN (Perhaps that can be discussed during the meeting of the heads of states of ASEAN),” he added.
The 36th ASEAN Summit will be held via teleconferencing due to the threat of COVID-19. 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 in April, 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.