THE common-law wife of President Rodrigo Duterte will play host to the spouses of Association Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) leaders this week.
Ambassador Marciano Paynor, Asean 2017 National Organizing Council director general for operations, said the President wanted his partner Honeylet Avanceña to assume the hosting duties, a task usually reserved to a first lady.
Avanceña hosted the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Akie Abe, in Davao City in January.
On Saturday, Avanceña will tour the Asean leaders’ spouses at the Metropolitan Museum before treating them to lunch.
“She’s being ably assisted by other agencies including NCCA (National Commission for Culture and the Arts), the Metropolitan Museum, the Internal House Affairs of Malacañang, and the Social Secretary,” Paynor said.
“She can hold her own, definitely,” he added.
Paynor said six spouses of Asean leaders, including the wives of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, have confirmed that they would be accompanying their husbands in Manila.
Also expected in Manila is Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
Under the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World,” Asean leaders will discuss progress in the implementation of the “Asean Vision 2025” as well as Asean’s external relations and future direction.
They are expected to exchange views on pressing regional and international issues. The leaders will also meet with the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly and the youth representatives.
Two sub-regional meetings will also be held in Manila. These are the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT).
President Rodrigo Duterte will chair the 30th Asean Summit plenary and retreat as well as the BIMP-EAGA Summit on April 29. He will host a gala dinner for the leaders and delegates on the same day.
Before the 30th Asean Summit, preparatory meetings will take place at the ministerial and senior officials’ levels on April 26 to 28.
PNP on the lookout vs terrorists
Security forces are guarding all possible avenues of approach of terrorists to thwart any attempts to sabotage the Asean Leaders’ Summit that will be held this week in Pasay City, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald de la Rosa said on Monday.
“We are putting our best foot forward. We did our best and if something happens, that is already beyond our control. So after all our best efforts, everything that we did that was humanly possible to secure the summit, we are leaving everything to God. We pray to the Lord that nothing bad happens,” said the PNP chief in a news conference at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
De la Rosa said security forces have not monitored any imminent threat to the summit.
The top PNP official has placed the entire police force on full alert and all personnel on standby and ready for deployment anytime. There is also a reserve standby force at Camp Crame.
On Sunday, the government mobilized a 40,877-person security contingent for the Asean summit to be held from April 26 to 29 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
Director Oscar Albayalde, the Metro Manila police commander, said 26,000 police and military personnel from five police districts in Metro Manila and nearby regions will be deployed to areas surrounding the PICC.
On top of that, around 15,000 state workers from various government agencies will serve as “force multipliers” to support police and military personnel.
Augmentation forces were also sent from the Ilocos, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog regions.
A “no fly zone” and “no sail zone” will also be implemented during the duration of the summit.