Duterte off to Singapore for Asean gab

President Rodrigo Duterte will leave next week to attend the 32nd Asean summit in Singapore to discuss political, security, economic and socio-cultural communities, Malacanang said Friday.

Department of Foreign Affairs Office of Asean Affairs Assistant Secretary Hellen De la Vega said the Chief Executive will be attending the summit at the invitation of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to be held on April 27 to 28.

The Asean leaders will also discuss the transnational and trans-boundary issues such as terrorism, violent extremism, trafficking in persons, illicit drug and disaster management.

The President will be joining other leaders of Asean member states in continuing the work of advancing community building and in living up to the shared commitment of maintaining and promoting the peace, security and stability of the region, De La Vega said.

She said Duterte will also join the Asean leaders in two major engagements: the working dinner on April 27 and the Leaders’ Retreat on April 28.

“We expect that the meeting will discuss the outcome of the documents that’s being worked out by Singapore. And this refers to this vision, Asean leaders vision on resiliency and innovation. The second is a concept note on smart cities network. There will be about 26 pilot cities focused on smart and sustainable urban development,” De la Vega said.

“The third one is of course one that’s covering cyber security where member states will look at cyber-attacks and how we can coordinate better our cyber policy and capacity-building measures,” she added.

De La Vega said the President would address issues that affect the wellbeing of the peoples of the region.

“He will work with other leaders in putting an imprint towards the realization of Asean Vision 2025 by identifying and prioritizing initiatives that will move forward action lines in the political, security, economic and socio-cultural communities, particularly on the deliverables of our chairmanship last year such as on the Asean consensus on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers and the Asean declaration on the role of civil service as a catalyst to realize the Asean Vision 2025, and other declarations that focus on the overall health of the citizens of Asean,” she added.

“We can anticipate that the leaders will be tackling regional and global issues that impact on the peace and security of our region, as well as on current developments that now pose a challenge to economic integration and the promotion of a free, fair and rules-based trading regime,” De La Vega said.

She added that two ASEAN leaders, whom she declined to identify, expressed interest to meet with Duterte on the sidelines of the biannual summit.

A meeting between Duterte and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is also being worked out in hopes to get the latter’s “thoughts and his sentiments about the chairmanship, so we can also help, support Singapore,” Dela Vega said.

Duterte may also meet with the thousands of Filipinos living and working in the city state, the DFA official added.

The April meet will be exclusive to Southeast Asia leaders. A dialogue with partners such as the United States, European Union, and China is expected in November.

In April last year, Duterte opened the 30th ASEAN Summit in Manila with an appeal for non-interference in member states’ internal affairs. He emphasized how the ASEAN was founded based on mutual respect for independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and non-interference.

The Philippines’ chairmanship coincided with the 50th founding anniversary of the association.

Topics: President Rodrigo Duterte , 32nd Asean summit , Department of Foreign Affairs , Office of Asean Affairs , Assistant Secretary Hellen De la Vega , Singapore , Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
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