Duterte, who is scheduled to leave for Thailand this afternoon, has ordered agencies to assist communities affected by the earthquake, the third major temblor to rock Mindanao in October.
King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo
Duterte flies to Thailand for Asean summit
Alexis Romero, Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - November 1, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — Despite the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that jolted parts of Mindanao yesterday, President Duterte is pushing through with his trip to Thailand to attend the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

Duterte, who is scheduled to leave for Thailand this afternoon, has ordered agencies to assist communities affected by the earthquake, the third major temblor to rock Mindanao in October.

“The President has ordered the national government, through its pertinent bureaus and agencies, to render immediate assistance in whatever form required under the premises,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement yesterday.

“In this connection, the President shall push through with his trip to Bangkok, Thailand to participate in the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits,” he added.

Panelo said the President was “conscientiously” monitoring the situation in quake-hit areas from his residence in Davao City.

“The President, however, deems it appropriate to refrain from personally inspecting the disaster-stricken areas and directing actions in response to the catastrophe as there are already ongoing operations by the responsible local government units, and they have so far effectively responded to the current critical situation,” he added.

Duterte has named Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea as officer-in-charge of the executive branch while he is in Thailand until Nov. 4.

Meanwhile, a source said there are no scheduled bilateral meetings yet between Duterte and any of the leaders attending the ASEAN Bangkok summit.

“So far, nothing has been firmed up yet as far as bilateral meetings are concerned. The President’s schedule for the summit is so tight that is why things are still being worked out,” a source told The STAR Wednesday night.

There have reportedly been several requests from other ASEAN leaders for bilateral talks with the President but his tight schedule for various summit events was making it difficult to arrange one.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Junever Mahilum-West said that apart from the ASEAN Plenary Summit, there are several other summits where Philippine participation is expected. These include the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the East Asia Summit, where leaders are expected to share their views regarding regional and international issues.

ASEAN will also have one-on-one summits with China, India, the United Nations, the United States and Japan.

ASEAN RODRIGO DUTERTE
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