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Gov’t all set for 30th ASEAN Summit

The government is ready for the country’s hosting of the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit this week.

President Duterte is scheduled to welcome fellow Southeast Asian leaders to the annual assembly that will focus on building a people-centered, innovation-led growth, and resilient ASEAN community.

The regional summit and related meetings, which have the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World,” will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City from April 26 to 29. The main ASEAN leaders’ meeting will be conducted on April 29.

“Preparations are now in full swing for all activities scheduled next week in Manila,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

“The 30th ASEAN Summit is the first of two leaders-level meetings that the Philippines will host as this year’s chair of ASEAN. President Duterte will chair this summit which will be attended by the heads of states/governments of the 10 ASEAN member-states,” Abella added.

Abella said the government has already suspended work in the public sector in Pasay City, Makati City, and Manila on April 27.

Work in the government and private sectors in Metro Manila is suspended on April 28, he added. Classes on all public and private schools in Metro Manila on that day have also been cancelled.

The President earlier identified six priorities in this year’s ASEAN summit: People-oriented, people-centered ASEAN; peace and stability in the region; maritime security and cooperation; inclusive innovation led growth; promotion of ASEAN’s resiliency; and ASEAN as a model of regionalism and a global player.

Duterte, at the launching of the country’s ASEAN chairmanship last January, said the regional bloc should work together to make Southeast Asia a region that promotes and maintains peace, security, and stability.

The ASEAN leaders are expected to tackle the progress on the proposed binding Code of Conduct in the South China during the meeting.

“In this journey, I call on all ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners to be unwavering in your support for the ASEAN’s continued development and for its important role in the region’s security, stability, and growth,” he said.

Duterte has also called on the ASEAN dialogue partners, including the United States, China, and Russia, not to meddle with the affairs of the regional bloc. The next round of the ASEAN summit with the dialogue partners will be held this November.

“I also call on ASEAN dialogue partners to renew their dedication to the valued purposes and principles stated in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation – including non-interference – in promoting regional peace and stability through abiding respect for the rule of law,” he said.

Before the regional leaders’ meeting, the President is expected to hold bilateral talks with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah during his state visit on April 27. Another bilateral meeting has been arranged with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on April 28. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)