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Duterte off to first ASEAN summit

President Duterte will make his debut in the world stage when he attends a regional summit in Laos this week even after the deadly explosion in a Davao City night market Friday.

The President is scheduled to depart Davao City this afternoon and has designated Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea as government caretaker, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

“The President will push through with his visit to Laos on Monday,” Andanar said in Filipino over government radio.

“Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea will be the caretaker office while the President is away,” he said.

Duterte is expected to join other world leaders for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit and related meetings in Vientiane from September 6 to 8. It will be the first international journey of the President since his assumption to office last June.

Sen. Alan Peter S. Cayetano will be part of the President’s official delegation to Laos, according to presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.

“Sen. Alan Peter S. Cayetano, in his capacity as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will be part of the Philippine delegation to attend in the bilateral and sideline meetings at the ASEAN summits and related summits,” Abella said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs had said the President is expected to hold one-on-one meetings with US President Barack Obama and his counterparts from Australia, India, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Russia, and Singapore on the sidelines of the summit. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)