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Duterte to attend 32nd ASEAN Summit in Singapore

President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the 32nd Leaders’ Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore from April 27 to 28.

Asst. Secretary Hellen De la Vega of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of ASEAN Affairs said that putting an imprint towards the realization of ASEAN Vision 2025, including the deliverables of the Philippines’ chairmanship last year, will be on top of the summit agenda.

“His Excellency President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will be attending the Summit at the invitation of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong,” de la Vega said in a pre-departure briefing in Malacañang.

De La Vega said the President will be joining the ASEAN leaders in two major engagements – the working dinner on April 27 and the Leaders’ Retreat on 28 April 28.

The working dinner will focus on the ASEAN Community building efforts.

“We expect that at that meeting, the leaders will discuss their support for the three  outcome documents that’s being worked out by Singapore and this refers to this vision, ASEAN leaders vision on resiliency and innovation,” de la Vega said.

The second is a concept note on smart cities network. There will be about 26 pilot cities focused on smart and sustainable urban development. 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.

On the part of the Philippines, De La Vega said the President would address issues that are close to his heart, especially matters that affect the well being of those in the different regions.

She said the President was expected to work with other leaders towards action lines in the political, security, economic and socio-cultural communities, particularly on the deliverables of the Philippines’ 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.

De La Vega added that 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.

Singapore’s chosen theme for its chairmanship of ASEAN is a resilient and innovative ASEAN.

“This weaves well into our thematic priorities during our time as chair of ASEAN last year. Thus, a focus for this year will be on ways to make use of innovation and technology to improve the lives of our people,” De La Vega said.

“Singapore will be introducing initiatives along this line, including one that will move forward city development, sustainable urbanization and connectivity among ASEAN cities,” she said.

She added that the ASEAN Summit will be an opportunity for leaders to address transnational and trans-boundary issues such as terrorism, violent extremism, trafficking in persons, illicit drug and disaster management.

“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.

Meanwhile, De La Vega said the Philippines has requested to hold a bilateral meeting between President Duterte and Singapore Prime Minister Lee at the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit.

“Many of the counterparts from member states would like to
call on the chair. So in this particular case, we would also wish to meet with the Singapore Prime Minister,” she said.

“Although we have already expressed our support for Singapore, we wanted of course that the chairmanship of Singapore will also be successful especially since the thematic priorities that Singapore has chosen is building upon our theme and thematic priorities during our chairmanship here,” she added.

De La Vega also said that there is the possibility that President Duterte would meet with the Filipino community in Singapore.

There are 180,000 Filipinos in Singapore as of 2017, according to De La Vega.#