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Highlights Of The Recently Concluded 31st ASEAN Summit

World leaders flew to Manila, Philippines to celebrate the 31st ASEAN Summit. It was a 3-day event from November 11-14, 2017. The theme of the 31st summit is “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World” and comprises of different business conferences and meetings between world leaders.

The chairman of the international organization is President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. The country is also the host of the celebration, as the gathering was nothing short of extravagance – the host country spent a lot of money to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as planned.

ASEAN Preparation

The host country went all out for the preparation of the gathering. Quality was not spared from food to entertainment. A total of 60,000 security forces were deployed to ensure the security of the delegates. Streets, to be used by the delegates, were also closed to give the leaders priority and for them to avoid the bad traffic. A famous Filipino designer, Albert Andrada sewed and designed the Barong Tagalogs that were worn by the leaders. Barong Tagalog were all hand-sewed using piña cocoon with the ASEAN logo being embroidered on it. The barongs are also given a name that represents the Filipino characteristics like magiting (courageous), marangal (honorable), and mapayapa (peaceful).


President Rodrigo Duterte is the host among the following delegates:

ASEAN members

Brunei – Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei
Cambodia – Prime Minister Hun Sen
Indonesia – President Joko Widodo
Laos – Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith
Malaysia – Prime Minister Najib Razak
Myanmar – State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi
Singapore – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Thailand – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha
Vietnam – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc

The citizens instantly trolled this picture where President Trump seems to be uneasy with the handshake

Dialogue partners

Australia – Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Canada – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
China – Premier Li Keqiang
European Council – President Donald Tusk
Japan – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
India – Prime Minister Narendra Modi
New Zealand – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Russia – Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
South Korea – President Moon Jae-In
United States – President Donald Trump
United Nations – Secretary-General Antonio Guterres


Various protest groups near the US Embassy to protest US President’ Trump’s visit to the Philippines during the ASEAN Leader’s Summit on November 13, 2017

President Donald Trump of the U.S.A. was the most controversial delegate of the summit. He was touring the Asia and he decided to extend his travels to the Philippines to attend the ASEAN summit. Most of the Filipinos did not want President Trump’s presence on the Philippine soil so they decided to hold a rally against him. The burnt effigies of the President and wrote “Ban Trump” near the summit’s venue. But this effort was immediately blocked by the security forces. There were almost 100 protesters who were injured by the police’s aggressive defense, but the police force immediately pointed the finger at the civilians. According to them, the rallyists started being aggressive and that is why they counteracted to it.

The ASEAN Galaa

On Sunday night, November 12, President Duterte hosted the ASEAN gala. The gala comprises of 1,300 delegates both international and local personalities. The gala wanted to showcase the country’s love of celebrating holidays and the eternal desire of each person to bring cheer to any celebration.

The simple yet elegant table arrangement of the gala

Chef Jessie Sincioco prepared a four-course Filipino-Asian meal, the same chef who catered to Pope Francis during his visit. The menu included ensaladang ubod at alugbati ( the heart of palm and malabar spinach salad), sinigang na maya maya sa miso (soured red snapper in miso broth), bistek sushi (Filipino steak sushi), and charcoal grilled apahap fillet with tomcat-mango sambal. Chef Sincioco also prepared dessert- a “budin” or Filipino caramel flan.

The delegates ate their meal while being serenaded by the country’s world-class performers. Music and orchestra filled the convention center. The Philippine President also sang his favorite song in front of the crowd after President Trump’s request.

World Issues

There are many different emotions that clouded the 3-day summit. Most of the Filipino people criticized the summit’s lack of tackling the relevant issues happening in the country and the world. It was clear that the world leaders are hesitant in discussing the Philippine’s War on Drugs under Duterte’s administration. The issue of human rights violation never surfaced during the 3-day event. The leaders are also silent in the Rohingya crisis that’s going on in Myanmar. One of the major causes of this silence is due to President Duterte’s intolerance to his international critics.

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