Summit in Laos: They all want to meet Rody

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte is expected to meet with other heads of state and the international media on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ summit that he will attend in Laos next month, Malacañang said yesterday.

It will be Duterte’s first trip outside of the country.

Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Martin Andanar said other ASEAN leaders have expressed interest to hold bilateral talks with Duterte, whom he described as “the most talked about leader in ASEAN and in the world.”

“We expect him to be swarmed by international media companies who want to talk to him,” he said over state-run radio dzRB.

Duterte’s war on drugs, which has been criticized for allegedly promoting extrajudicial killings, has been featured by several international media outlets including Time magazine, BBC and CNN.

The President has denied that he was endorsing extralegal killings and has scored the United Nations, the United States and human rights advocates for supposedly meddling with his anti-drug campaign.

Duterte is scheduled to visit Brunei Darussalam on Sept. 4 before proceeding to Laos to attend the ASEAN summit from Sept. 5 to 7. He will then proceed to Indonesia for a two-day visit as part of the traditional ASEAN tour for leaders.

“(The President) will be on a working visit, will perform bilateral talks with ASEAN (leaders) and will be visiting OFWs (overseas Filipino workers),” Andanar said.

In a previous interview, Duterte said he would thank Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah for taking care of Filipino migrant workers.

During the ASEAN meet, Duterte will witness the turnover of the ASEAN chairmanship to the Philippines, which will host the leaders’ summit and related meetings next year.

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