MANILA (UPDATE) – President Aquino will push through with his original plan to attend the ASEAN-Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Summit in Busan, South Korea, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Tuesday.
The President earlier expressed plans to cancel the trip to South Korea to address the effects of Typhoon Ruby, but Valte said reports from government representatives in the frontlines “have consistently been encouraging” as weather continues to improve across the country.
“This is, without doubt, due to the high level of preparedness achieved by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) and affected local government units, and their continuing cooperation up to the present. It is in light of this that President Aquino has decided to push through with the original plan to attend the 25th ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit,” Valte said in a statement.
The summit is scheduled on Thursday, December 11 to Friday, December 12.
Valte also said the President decided to push through with the trip to keep the country’s international commitments to Korea, to neighboring nations in the ASEAN, and the rest of the global community.
“This trip will afford the President the opportunity to articulate the Philippine position on issues of both national and global importance, including those connected to climate risk and disaster preparedness, and the dangers posed by the Ebola virus,” she said.
Valte noted that the President has been closely monitoring relief and rehabilitation efforts and will continue to do so during his visit to Busan.
“He has full trust and confidence in the members of the Cabinet who have been on the ground since before Ruby made landfall, as well as in the NDRRMC, local government units, and other government personnel who are engaged in the task of relief and recovery,” added Valte.
A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, said President Aquino and nine ASEAN member-state leaders will deliver their respective country statements building on the theme "Building Trust, Bringing Happiness."
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and other Members of the Cabinet, ASEAN-Philippines Director-General Luis T. Cruz and other officials from executive departments will accompany Aquino during the trip.
On December 11, the Philippine president will have a bilateral meeting with ROK President Park Geun-hye, who will host a Welcome Dinner and Cultural Performance to officially welcome ASEAN Leaders.
On December 12, Aquino will attend two Commemorative Summit Sessions at the Busan Exhibition Convention Centre (BEXCO) that will review the ASEAN-ROK cooperation and its future direction, and the cooperation on non-traditional security issues with emphasis on climate change and disaster risk management.
Aquino will also attend an exhibition on Korean traditional arts and crafts, a special exhibition on public governance, and a meet-and-greet with the CEO of Korea Aerospace Industries and ROK officials.
He will meet the Philippine media in a one-hour coffee meeting at the Paradise Hotel Busan before his departure.