PRESIDENT Duterte said he felt “more sturdy” after getting enough sleep and rest while working from his home in Davao City for several days last week.
The President, in a press conference in Malacañang Tuesday night, allayed concerns about his health, reiterating that people his age suffer from some ailments.
Duterte said while he did not get complete rest during his “work from home” schedule last week, he was able to catch up on sleep.
The President stayed and worked in Davao City from Tuesday to Thursday last week, focusing only on paperwork. He left Davao last Friday to visit wounded soldiers and attended the wake of soldiers who were killed during operations against the communist New People’s Army.
Duterte said the public should not worry about him as all 74-year-olds, except a few, have ailments. He said he is old but can still talk. But when he is no longer coherent or unable to articulate things, it is time to alert his family who can then advise him to retire.
The President said that while he was advised by his physicians to take a rest for a few days, he cannot do so because he had to address important matters confronting the nation.
Duterte is set to fly to South Korea for the November 25 to 27 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-South Korea Commemorative Summit in Busan.
He said he is well enough to travel to Busan where he is expected to have a meeting with South Korea President Moon Jae-in at the sidelines of the summit.
He explained the maritime dispute in the South China Sea is an issue that concerns several countries and there may come a time that “when we decide to really go for it,” there will be a division among countries with one side composed of “Western powers plus Seoul, plus Tokyo, and Australia.”
He did not say which countries would be on the other side but there is a trade dispute between the US and China, and a territorial dispute between China and several countries including the Philippines.
China has been claiming almost the entire South China Sea, including areas that several other countries are claiming to be part of their territory.
The President reiterated he is not fond of traveling, but he needs to attend the summit where he would promote the Philippines’ interest and meet with South Korean officials about the country’s acquisition of some arms and naval ships.
Duterte said he intends to “have a first-hand look at the defense equipment.”
“We are buying Corvettes… and buy the arms, I will look into the (defense equipment) para hindi ako mag-asa lang sa assessment (so I would not have to depend only the assessment),” he added.
The President said the Philippine Navy’s corvette warships and FA-50 jet planes came from South Korea.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in August said the President approved in May this year a corvette acquisition program where the country is leaning towards the purchase of two new corvette warships.