In this Dec. 28, 2016 file photo, President-elect Donald Trump listens to a question as he speaks to reporters at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump gave a videotaped deposition on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, for a lawsuit stemming from a clash with a celebrity restaurateur at his new Washington hotel. It was a rare legal proceeding for a president-elect or sitting president that highlights the legal woes that could follow Trump to the Oval Office.
AP/Evan Vucci, File
Rody invites pal Trump to Asean summit
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - January 11, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte sent an official invitation to incoming United States President Donald Trump to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit to be held in the country in November.

Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said Trump has not committed yet to visit the country for the ASEAN summit. Trump will take oath on Jan. 20. 

Duterte telephoned Trump last year to congratulate him for winning the US presidential elections.

Meanwhile, the military and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are preparing for the launching of the ASEAN summit in Davao City on Jan. 15.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is mobilizing an entire task force and all military components to secure the launching of the ASEAN summit at the Davao SMX Convention Center. 

The government will officially launch the ASEAN 2017 to raise awareness regarding the country’s summit hosting and its benefits, Andanar said.

President Duterte will be the guest of honor during the launching ceremonies.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office, said Joint Task Force (JTF) Haribon of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) has geared up to support the Philippine National Police (PNP). 

About 600 personnel from the Air Force, Navy and the Army will be committed to the 1,000 security personnel to be deployed to secure the activities related to the ASEAN summit. 

“Our plan is in support of the PNP plan and we consider different possible scenarios and we are closely coordinating with different concerned agencies, particularly the PNP,” said Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, JTF Haribon commander. 

Gapay also said sea, air and land capabilities and assets of the military would be on standby alert for the summit. 

As part of the security preparations, JTF Haribon has initiated tabletop exercises to ensure that security requirements in areas of engagements are all covered. 

Early this month, a joint exercise was held along Davao Gulf to fine tune naval security measures and to enhance interoperability among the deployed and committed units. 

Gapay said that security has been heightened around Samal Island as it is one of the potential areas to be visited by ASEAN delegates.

Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno said the DILG is also on its toes as chair of the Committee for Security, Peace and Order and Emergency Preparedness and Response for the country’s hosting of the summit.

The committee conducted orientation meetings and contingency planning and inspected proposed billeting areas, meeting sites and places of interest in Boracay, Iloilo, Bacolod, Pampanga and Metro Manila.

“The year brings much excitement and challenge to the Philippines as we are hosting the ASEAN 2017 on its 50th or golden anniversary, which is an opportune time to show to the ASEAN region as well as to the world our capability to host international and important events, including the upcoming Miss Universe pageant,” Sueno said.

The Philippines held the chairmanship of the ASEAN in 1987, 1999 and 2006.

A member-state that assumes the chairmanship leads the ASEAN summit and other related summits, the ASEAN Coordinating Council, the three ASEAN community councils, ASEAN sectoral ministerial bodies and the Committee of Permanent Representatives. – With Jaime Laude, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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