PRESIDENT Duterte arrived yesterday from what Malacañang described as a “fruitful participation” in the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Thailand.
The President skipped the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the ASEAN Summit closing ceremonies on Monday night to return to the country.
He was represented in the two events by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
Malacañang did not release any official schedule for yesterday. Duterte was reportedly resting as officials assured the public that the President is well.
On Monday, Duterte was late by several minutes and missed the “family photo” during the ASEAN Plus Three Summit where he was represented by DFA Assistant Secretary Junever Mahilum-West. He also skipped the ASEAN-United States which Teodoro attended on his behalf.
Prior to the trip to Thailand, the President attended the enthronement ceremony of Japanese Emperor Naruhito in Japan in October but had to cut short his visit due to “unbearable pain” in his lower back and pelvic area. He underwent check-up the day after his return in Manila.
At the ASEAN, the President took part in meetings and discussions with fellow ASEAN leaders and dialogue partners on regional strategic issues and promoting partnerships for sustainability.
He attended the 35th ASEAN Summit Plenary, the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit, the16th ASEAN-India Summit, the10th ASEAN-United Nations Summit, the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three Summit, Special Lunch on Sustainable Development, 14th East Asia Summit, and the 22nd ASEAN-Japan Summit.
He held a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, wherein the Philippines and Japan reaffirmed their strategic partnership.
The President thanked Japan for its continued support to the country and expressed regret for cutting short his recent trip to Tokyo and missing the separate Emperor’s and Prime Minister’s banquet.
Duterte and the other ASEAN leaders and their dialogue partners signed 44 documents during the November 2 to 4 summit, including the ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change and the East Asia Leaders’ Statements on Combating the Spread of Illegal Drugs.
The President called for collective action to address the South China Sea dispute, transnational crimes, trade-related tensions, export of hazardous and toxic wastes, and climate change.
Duterte, in one of the meetings, also raised concerns over the dumping of hazardous and toxic waste by developed countries to developing countries, which he said violates international environmental law and is an affront to national dignity.