Duterte to skip APEC?
Officials previously said President Rodrigo Duterte, who suffered “unbearable” back pain last week, would push through with his trip to Thailand before the weekend to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.
AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha
Duterte to skip APEC?
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte’s attendance at international events to be held next month would depend on the advice of his doctors, Malacañang announced yesterday.

Officials previously said Duterte, who suffered “unbearable” back pain last week, would push through with his trip to Thailand before the weekend to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.

No announcements have been made on whether or not he would attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit from Nov. 16 to 17 in Chile and the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit from Nov. 25 to 26 in South Korea.

“There is no word yet. It depends on the consultation with his doctor. If the doctor does not want him to travel, why would he travel?” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said at a press briefing.

Last week, unbearable pain in his lower back forced Duterte to cut short his trip to Japan, triggering speculations about his health condition.

Panelo said there was nothing serious about the President’s back pain, which he said was caused by muscle spasms. ?

‘Death can come anytime’

President Duterte said he would continue to ride motorcycles, adding that death is “relative” and “can come anytime to anybody.”

On Oct. 17, Duterte suffered bruises after falling off a motorcycle at the Presidential Security Group compound.

“The rule in riding motorcycle is if you fall, you need to ride again. If you feel scared, you are done,” the President told ABS-CBN anchor Ted Failon on Monday.

“I am old... magmo-motor talaga ako, maganda yun (I will ride a motorcycle. It’s good),” he added.

Duterte said he was trying to maintain his balance when his shoes fell off, causing the accident.

The President said the muscle spasm he experienced was a complication of his spinal problem.

“I’m having intermittent pain but that’s how it is,” he said.

No need for medical bulletin

Duterte reiterated that there is no need to issue a medical bulletin on his health condition, saying his partner, Honeylet Avanceña, would inform the public if he could no longer stand on his own.

“It’s not needed. If I can’t stand anymore, my wife will tell you,” he said.

The President said he was advised by his doctors to keep quiet about his health condition.

Duterte, however, admitted that the muscle spasm that caused the pain in his lower back “requires a lengthy explanation.”

“Actually, the muscle spasm must be precipitated by something. A muscle spasm by itself is not really nothing. There has to be something that… I don’t want to tell you yet,” he said.

Duterte said he could still walk straight as long as he is with someone.

“Pero ‘pag walang tao ayay (But without a companion, it hurts),” he said.

The President previously admitted suffering from acute bronchitis, migraine, Buerger’s disease, which is an illness connected to smoking and a rare autoimmune neuromuscular ailment, Myasthenia gravis, that affects the muscles in his eyes.

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