MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte belittled a recent summit between Southeast Asian countries and Australia, saying he decided to skip it because it was just an "informal" summit anyway.
He was speaking of the "informal breakfast summit" between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia, one of the regional bloc's dialogue partners, which took place on Wednesday, November 14.
"Ang invitation, 'informal breakfast.' Sabi ko sa mga sundalo, bakit ako magpunta doon na – Unang-una, hindi ako kumakain ng breakfast. Eh totoo, matulog – pangalawa, informal man," said Duterte on Friday, November 16, in front of Filipinos living in Papua New Guinea.
(The invitation was for 'informal breakfast.' I told the soldiers, why will I go there – first of all, I don't eat breakfast. It's true, sleep – second, it's informal.)
He even joked that he won't even like the food that will be served.
"Anong ipakain nila diyan sa atin, informal? Kangaroo? Eh nandoon kami Singapore, eh hindi ako magpunta diyan," he said.
(What will they feed us if it's informal? Kangaroo? We were in Singapore, I don't want to go there.)
But gatherings like the ASEAN-Australia breakfast summit are among the major events typically attended by heads of government or heads of state.
They are a chance for ASEAN countries to affirm ties with strategic allies from outside the region, with which they have significant economic and military interests.
ASEAN leaders hold summits with each of the regional bloc's dialogue partners.
He slammed opposition lawmaker Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for branding him lazy. Aside from skipping the breakfast event, Duterte did not show up at 4 other events in order to take "power naps," as explained by Malacañang.
"Tapos binabatikos daw ni Trillanes, tamad ako. Ah letse ka (Then Trillanes is saying I'm lazy. You idiot.)," said Duterte.
The Philippine President then said he prefers to eat canned fish and canned beef instead of fancier fare typically served in international conferences.
He said he brought along his favorite canned food to a recent visit to India, describing some food served in India and in the United States as "bland."
Malacañang earlier said the accusation that Duterte is lazy for skipping major ASEAN events is a "product of a witless if not a malicious mind." – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.