President Duterte on his first international appearance as the President of the Philippines attended the opening of the ASEAN Summit held at Vientiane, Laos, Tuesday, September 6, 2016.
The President together with other ASEAN country leaders from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam will gather for a 3-day convention from September 6 to September 8, 2016.
Several Countries also joined including Australia, China, India, South Korea, Russia and the United States of America as ASEAN Dialogue Partners.
September 5, 2016 – The president of the Philippines arrived a day ahead to have time to meet and greet the Filipino community mostly OFW’s working in Laos.
Duterte during the gathering at Feungfar Convention Center has opened the topic about crime and corruption and told the Filipino community to give him time to fix the country.
“There will be a clean government and it will be clean. And whether in or out of the country, I assure you, upon your return, the system has changed,” Duterte stated.
“And I would like to assure you that as a returning Filipino citizen, you will be accorded with the respect and dignity of a Filipino worker,” Duterte added.
Duterte tackled issues regarding drug related deaths and reiterated that those criminals should pay for their wrongdoings.
The President then thanked the Laos Government for taking care of OFW’s currently working in their country.
September 6, 2016 – Duterte attended the opening ceremony of the 28th and 29th ASEAN summit in his traditional barong Tagalog together with his delegates.
During the opening day, the President attended bilateral meetings with several leaders which include Singapore, Japan, and Vietnam.
The first bilateral meeting of Duterte with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tackled about drug issues, and Duterte then explained that until the drug problems are not solved, it could compromise the next generation of Filipinos which Prime Minister Lee agrees.
Duterte then proceeds to talk with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The Japan Prime Minister stated their plan to provide the Philippines two ships and to lend five surveillance aircrafts to strengthen country’s security. Abe also expressed sympathies for the victims of the bombing incident in Davao City.
The Philippine President mentioned how the two countries share common values of mutual respect, cooperation, and adherence to the rule of law.
Both leaders also agreed on projects concerning law enforcement cooperation that would help boost the maritime capabilities of the Philippines.
President Duterte then advanced to the meeting with Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung which mainly talked about territorial disputes with China regarding the West Philippine Sea.
Dung then encouraged the Philippine President to come to Vietnam and invest more. He also committed regarding the long-term supply of rice for the country.
After the bilateral talks, the Summit proceeded with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration for One ASEAN, One Response.
According to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, the heads of state and government of ASEAN signed the Declaration of One ASEAN, One Response is to speed up ASEAN response in coping with disasters, mobilizing resources, and coordination.
“The declaration was made to strengthen cooperation and improve coordination in the mechanism to overcome regional disasters,” He added.
The next on schedule right after the bilateral talks is the ASEAN Business Summit.
Duterte during the business summit expressed his will to eradicate drugs and crime in the Philippines.
The Philippine president then stated the need for ASEAN members to act together to help improve the economy.
He also added the need for ASEAN to help boost small and micro-enterprises while pursuing free trade agreements.
September 7, 2016 – The second day of the three-day summit and the Philippine president was spotted wearing a suit instead of his traditional barong Tagalog.
Duterte on the second day was not able to attend meetings between heads of the ASEAN including the top officials of UN. Instead, Perfecto Yasay Jr., Duterte’s Foreign Affairs Secretary represented him.
Despite missing the meetings, Duterte and Obama met before the ASEAN dinner and were able to talk briefly.
“I think they were able to iron out the issue,” the statement by Charles Jose, Foreign Affairs spokesman.
Perfecto Yasay also confirmed the meeting of the two leaders. The original schedule of the bilateral meeting between Duterte and Obama was mutually agreed to move it to a later date.
After the said meeting, the two were not spotted talking to each other during the dinner which lasted for more than an hour.