MANILA – For the first time, President Rodrigo Duterte is being accompanied by his partner Honeylet Avancena and daughter Veronica to an official trip abroad.
Speaking to reporters before flying to Cambodia, Duterte said he needs Avancena, a nurse by profession, by his side to attend to his medical needs. He said, he does not want another nurse to be going in and out of his room.
“I find it hard to -- I have some medications to take, (and) I don’t want these nurses na pasok pasok sa kwarto. So Honeylet is a nurse, she can very well take care of me. I’m glad I have my wife giving me medications,” he said.
“Kapag president ka, kunan ka ng BP, maski walang sakit. Kukunan ka ng pulso tapos lalagyan ka ng oxygenation. Para ka talagang pasyente, tapos isusulat nila yan. Because they are required by law to do that. It’s an extravagant attention,” Duterte added.
Duterte will be in Cambodia from May 10 to 11 to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN. He will then fly to Hong Kong to meet the Filipino community there.
Duterte will proceed to Beijing on May 13 to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 14 to 15, hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In his departure speech, Duterte said he will highlight the accomplishments and developments of the recently concluded 30th ASEAN Summit in Manila.
“We will have the opportunity to engage the larger region to discuss the common vision for Southeast Asia and our peoples. We will share our perspectives on what still needs to be done and how we are going to achieve them as united ASEAN region,” Duterte said.
Duterte also said he will highlight his “Build, Build, Build” program, the cornerstone of his main economic blueprint dubbed “Dutertenomics.”
In China, Duterte said he will explore opportunities for supporting infrastructure development, trade and economic cooperation, energy development, financial cooperation, eco-environment initiatives, and people-to-people exchanges.
“I will work to build greater mutual interest and confidence in the region with the Chinese and with the Mongolian Prime Minister,” he said.
Duterte’s visit to China underscores the growing cooperation between China and the Philippines, whose ties have been strained by the bitter South China Sea dispute.
Since assuming the presidency, Duterte has sought to downplay its maritime dispute with China in exchange for improved economic ties.