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‘Energetic’ Noy shows up at plenary meet

(From left to right) Myanmar's President Thein Sein, Philippines' President Benigno Aquino III, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen pose for a photo after a signing ceremony for the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration during the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia yesterday. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

PHNOM PENH – It’s business as usual for the flu-stricken President Aquino as he attended yesterday’s convening of the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Cambodia with much energy, fully aware of the daunting tasks ahead.

“The President is in good spirits. He is very energetic. He is animated by the significance of his participation in this vital forum,” Secretary Sonny Coloma told reporters in a briefing at Landscape Hotel here.

Aquino, diagnosed with influenza and allergic rhinitis over the weekend, managed to fly to Cambodia to attend the ASEAN leaders’ summit and participate in various activities.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Chief Executive developed “body malaise, fever and allergic rhinitis” after he went to Occidental Mindoro and Tagaytay City to inaugurate some projects and address the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas conference.

“On Saturday, despite experiencing fever and muscle pains, the President went to the office to interview candidates for the position of associate justice of the Supreme Court until five in the afternoon,” Valte said.

While Aquino’s doctors advised him to rest to ensure full recovery and prevent a relapse, the President decided to attend the ASEAN leaders’ summit in light of preparations already made and the importance of the gathering for the formation of a regional consensus to ensure stability and peace in Southeast Asia.

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Valte said that fatigue could be taking its toll on the President.

Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the Chief Executive was conscious about his health because he “made sure that he was on time on his medication.”

“All of you know when you have a flu there’s a certain cycle of medication. I think the will and the intent to be here is driving (him),” Almendras said.

Aquino and the other heads of state of the 10-member ASEAN attended the formal opening of the summit.

Almendras said the President had 10 reasons to attend the event here, which he called as “10 opportunities” - two plenaries, two retreats and six bilateral meetings.

With Aurea Calica


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