MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte will be unable to attend the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney, Australia this month, MalacaAang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte will be skipping the summit, which will be held from March 17 to 18, to attend to events 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 President's presence in the Philippines, Roque said in a Palace briefing.
Roque said Duterte will be attending the PMA graduation since he sees it an opportunity to dialogue with young military officers particularly on how the Philippine government and the military will deal with the problem of modern day terrorism.
He, however, assured that the President considers the summit very important and designated Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano as his special personal representative.
His special designation will help 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 and stability and inclusive and sustainable development in the region, Roque said.
It will be the first time that Australia will host a special summit with ASEAN Leaders.
It is meant to strengthen ASEAN and Australia's contribution to regional security and prosperity, including by addressing shared security challenges and securing greater opportunities for our businesses.
A Business Summit and Counter-Terrorism Conference are the two important events, leading to the Special Summit.
Source: Philippine News Agency