Cayetano steps in for busy-body Digong in UN-ASEAN Summit

PHILIPPINEForeign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano speaks during the closing ceremony of the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional security forum in Manila on August 8, 2017. AFP Photo

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte wanted very much to attend the summit between the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) but a hectic schedule stopped him from doing so.

In place of Duterte, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano represented the Philippines in the UN-ASEAN meeting, said Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

“The President’s meetings went beyond schedule and, to avoid further delay, it was decided that Secretary Cayetano would attend the ASEAN-UN Summit on behalf of PRRD while the Chief Executive was conducting meetings with other leaders,” Roque said.

Duterte had a full schedule which included bilateral meetings with the leaders of Japan, South Korea, India, and Russia.

The President also presided over the 31st ASEAN Summit plenary, the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC), ASEAN-US Summit, ASEAN-China Summit, ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit and the ASEAN-Japan Summit.

Tuesday would also be a very busy day for Duterte as the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits come to a close.

This includes the ASEAN Plus Three Summit between the regional bloc and the East Asian nations of China, Japan and South Korea; ASEAN-Canada Summit; ASEAN-European Union Summit; the 12th East Asia Summit; and the ASEAN-India Summit.

The summit will close Tuesday evening with the Philippines handing over the ASEAN chairmanship to Singapore.

rw: jhd