Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended an invitation to United States President-elect Donald Trump to attend the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit later this year.
According to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Trump’s office has acknowledged the letter and said it would notify Malacañang as soon as a decision regarding the invitation has been made.
Trump is slated to take his oath as the new president of the U.S. on Friday, January 20, succeeding current President Barack Obama.
Following the real estate billionaire’s win last November, he and Duterte spoke over the phone. During the seven-minute conversation, Trump reportedly praised the Philippine president’s fight against illegal drugs as “the right way.”
The ASEAN Summit 2017, chaired by the Philippines, will be held in November in Clark, Pampanga.
“The year brings much excitement and challenge to the Philippines as we are hosting the ASEAN 2017 on its 50th or golden anniversary, which is an opportune time to show to the ASEAN region as well as to the world our capability to host international and important events, including the upcoming Miss Universe pageant,” Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael ‘Mike’ D. Sueno said.
The Philippines previously held the ASEAN chairmanship in 1987, 1999 and 2006.
Sueno said that the DILG has been coordinating with other government agencies in beefing-up the overall security preparations as the Chair of the Committee for Security, Peace and Order and Emergency Preparedness and Response (CSPOEPR) for the Philippines’ hosting of ASEAN.
He added that the purpose of the ASEAN Summit is to show the Philippines “the importance of regional integration…and its benefits to ordinary Filipinos.”
The Philippine government is also set to officially launch ASEAN 2017 on January 15 in Davao City.
“Filipinos are no longer just citizens of the Philippines but form part of the citizenry of the ASEAN Community since its formal establishment in 2015. Let us embrace our ASEANship and explore opportunities that are already in front of us,” Sueno remarked.