WATCH: Duterte caps off ASEAN tour
BANGKOK, Thailand – President Rodrigo Duterte ends his tour of Southeast Asian countries in Thailand, the birthplace of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN.)
Pia Ranada reports.
PIA RANADA, REPORTING: We’re here in Bangkok, Thailand where President Rodrigo Duterte recently ended his tour of Southeast Asian countries.
The tour that began in Laos last September, ended here in Thailand in March.
It’s a fitting conclusion to his ASEAN tour. Thailand is the birthplace of ASEAN because it was here that the ASEAN declaration was signed in 1967.
The declaration is the regional bloc’s founding document.
Why did Duterte visit all 10 member-countries of ASEAN? This year is the Philippines’ turn to chair the ASEAN and host its summits.
The President himself explains this to Filipinos based in Thailand.
RODRIGO DUTERTE, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Now, let me explain muna bago ako… why I am here. I am here because ngayong taon na ito, tayo ang host country. Chairmanship ng ASEAN, tayo, ako. So kaya nag-ikot ako sa lahat: Laos, Malaysia, lahat yan, Cambodia. So tayo yung host country, pinagpapasyal ako, ano ba ang gusto mong ilabas doon sa ating summit? Ano ba ang hinakit mo? Para plantsahin ko na ang program, ang agenda para pagdating ng panahon, smooth sailing na, ganun.
(I am here because this year we are the host country, ASEAN chairmanship is ours. So I went around all the countries: Laos, Malaysia, all of them, Cambodia. So we are the host country, they had me tour around to ask, 'What do you want to bring up at our summit? What are your concerns? So we can iron out the program, our agenda so that when the time comes, it's smooth-sailing.)
Visiting these countries and meeting their leaders is critical to successful ASEAN summits in the Philippines.
ENRIQUE MANALO, ACTING FOREIGN SECRETARY: I think he has met them personally, importante yun. He has developed close rapport and close relationship with yung mga leaders and I think that's important so they can understand each other when they talk kasi sila ang nagmeeting. Ang kung medyo ano na kayo, you feel close, warm you can talk more freely and exchange good ideas with each other so parang ASEAN family.
(I think he has met them personally – that's important. He has developed close rapport and close relationship with the leaders and I think that's important so they can understand each other when they talk because they had meetings. And once rapport has been established, you feel close, relations are warmer and you can talk more freely and exchange good ideas with each other like an ASEAN family.)
All 10 leaders of ASEAN countries will come together in April and November summits in the Philippines to discuss economy, security, and the South China Sea.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Bangkok. – Rappler.com