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Duterte to convey aid to Indonesia quake victims in meeting with Widodo

As President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo are set to meet at the ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering on Oct. 11 in Bali, Indonesia, Duterte will personally convey the assistance the Philippines can provide to earthquake and tsunami victims.

“This is a good chance for the President to personally…relay to President Jokowi Widodo our assistance,” Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Junever Mahilum-West said Monday in a pre-departure press briefing in Malacanang.

A 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island, triggering tsunami that led to the deaths of over 1,500 people and massive destructions a week ago.

“We will give assistance and then it will be coursed through…the AHA Center,” West said, referring to the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management.

She said a simple turnover ceremony is being prepared on the sidelines of the ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering.

”It would be proper that since leaders will meet there face-to-face, let’s give it a simple ceremony and solemnity,” West said.

Last week, Duterte said the Philippines is ready to extend financial assistance and send a humanitarian team to Indonesia’s devastated island.

Duterte has also extended the nation’s sympathy to the people of Indonesia.

“The Philippines stands with Indonesia during this most difficult time and is ready to provide assistance to Indonesia,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, West said Duterte will have bilateral meetings with fellow ASEAN leaders, particularly Widodo.

“We are expecting some bilateral meetings despite the shortness of the visit. Right now, we are making arrangements for a meeting with Indonesia,” she said, adding at least three ASEAN leaders have expressed interest to talk with Duterte.

However, she declined to identify them “since preparations are not yet in this advanced stage.”

Duterte will join ASEAN leaders upon the invitation of Widodo.#