PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has cancelled his trip to Brunei, a Palace official said on Saturday.
Brunei would have been Duterte’s first foreign trip as President and the first leg of a three-country swing through Southeast Asia.
“The Brunei trip is cancelled,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told reporters in a text message.
This came after the deadly explosion in Davao City on Friday night that claimed the lives of 14 people and left 67 injured.
Duterte, who took office two months ago, was initially scheduled to visit Bandar Seri Begawan as part of an inaugural trip to neighboring countries.
He is still set to fly to Laos on Tuesday for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit and to Indonesia on Thursday for a working visit, Andanar said.
He added that Duterte was supposed to depart for Brunei at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The visit had been scheduled for September 3 to 5.
The Philippine Embassy in Brunei sent a message to the media saying Duterte’s visit was “postponed.”
Duterte in a news conference in Davao City early Saturday said: “I’m going to the Asean Summit.”
The President is scheduled to be in Vientiane, Laos to attend the 28th and 29th Asean Summits and Related Summits from September 6 to 8, before traveling to Jakarta.
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto urged the President to attend the Asean summit in Vientiane.
He said canceling the trip to Laos might lead to the international impression that terrorists have succeeded in grounding the Philippine leader.
“If he goes to Laos as planned, then the President is heeding his own call that terrorism should not disrupt our daily lives,” Recto said in a statement.