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‘I’M GETTING OLD’

After hectic Apec, Asean summits, Duterte goes home to rest

By: - Correspondent / @inqmindanao
/ 07:11 AM November 18, 2017
rodrigo duterte

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

DAVAO CITY—After presiding over marathon meetings in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit this week, and hosting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Malacañang, President Duterte flew out of Manila early Thursday morning to get some rest.

Sources, who did not want to be identified for lack of authority to speak, said that after Wednesday’s meeting with the Chinese official, the President expressed plans of going home for a break.

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But Mr. Duterte had to attend to some pressing matters first, including a talk with the military, the police contingents and members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) deployed during the Asean Summit, to thank them for “a job well done,” one source said.

“It was 12:30 a.m. (Thursday) when he finished talking to the PSG,” the source added.

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The President then proceeded to Villamor Air Base in Pasay City and boarded a plane for this city. “He arrived at 3 a.m.,” a second source said.

Although Mr. Duterte had been resting, a third source said he might be gracing an event here on Saturday, though no further details were given.

President Duterte skipped last Monday’s Asean-United Nations Summit and Asean Plus Three Leaders’ interface with the East Asia Business Council because of a conflict in schedule, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

But in a press conference after the Asean Summit closing ceremony, Mr. Duterte admitted having “a shortage of sleep.”

He added: “Maybe I’m [awake for] 16 hours, 17 hours.”

The President also spoke candidly about feeling exhausted by the hectic schedule of meetings at the summit and admitted to feeling old at one point.  “Matanda na ako,” he said.

The President’s grueling schedule started on Nov. 8 when he flew to Vietnam for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum.

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In Vietnam, the President  delivered the keynote speech at the Apec CEO Summit, attended the Apec Business Advisory Council, the inaugural Apec and Asean Leaders’ Informal Dialogue and addressed the Filipino community.

It was also in Vietnam where Mr. Duterte met US President Donald Trump for the first time.

The President also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Vietnam President and Apec host Tran Dai Quang.

He joined at least two Apec Economic Leaders’ Meetings and retreats as well before heading back to Manila on Nov. 12 as host of the 31st Asean Summit.

Although the President arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport late Saturday night, he showed up Sunday for the Asean Summit’s opening ceremony.

Among those who attended the summit were Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Myanmar state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, and Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Also in attendance were Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Union President Donald Tusk, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Putin skipped the summit but sent Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in his stead. —WITH A REPORT FROM LEILA B. SALAVERRIA

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TAGS: Asean, Asean 2017, Philippine news updates, President Duterte
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