President Rodrigo Duterte will not be attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – Australia special summit scheduled this month because of developments that requires the presence of the president including the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduation on March 18.
“The President regrets that he will be unable to attend the ASEAN-Australia Summit this month. Developments at home continue to require the Presidents’ presence in the Philippines,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
“One occasion that the Philippines will be attending will the graduation of the Philippine Military Academy since he considers this graduation as an opportunity to dialogue with the younger military officers particularly on the manner by which the Philippine government and the military will dwell with or will deal with the problem of modern day terrorism,” he added.
However, President Duterte is sending Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano to attend the summit. Roque said the President considers the summit very important.
“The special designation will help to ensure that the Philippines continues to be engaged with ASEAN and Australia in advancing shared interest in the region and moving forward a common agenda for greater security, stability and inclusive and sustainable development in the region,” Roque said.