The Department of Foreign Affairs would need at least two years to prepare for the Philippines’ hosting of the ASEAN Summit in 2026, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said Tuesday.
Manalo disclosed this as he appealed to the Senate finance committee for additional budget next year and in 2025. The Philippines will take over the ASEAN chairmanship in 2026.
“Maybe next year or so we may need additional [funds] because we have preparations for the [hosting],” he said.
Asked how many years the host country needs to fully prepare for the ASEAN Summit, Manalo said, “The sooner you prepare the better. Probably, two years at least.”
“Kasi as chairman, we will have to not only worry about logistics but we have to start preparing you know our themes, the issues that we will focus on. So, I would say at least two years,” he explained.
Apart from the ASEAN Summit attended by the heads of states, Manalo said there will be several meetings at ministerial level and summits with dialogue partners such as the European Union, the United States, Canada, Korea, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, China, among others.
“We will have to hold a number of preparatory meetings before [the summit]. The year before, we will be working with our colleagues and then on the year itself, we will have to be hosting senior officials meetings, ministerial meetings and then two summits and it’s not only ASEAN [member-states]…but we also have the dialogue partners which will be up to about 15 and we have a summit also the East Asia summit, which will involve about 27 countries. So, it will be a huge event,” he said.
Right now, Manalo said the DFA is beginning to plan for the event as the nomination of the Philippines for the 2026 hosting of the ASEAN Summit was just made last month.
At the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Indonesia earlier this month, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. announced that the Philippines is ready to chair and host the ASEAN Summit in 2026.
Manalo said the Philippines was originally scheduled to host the summit in 2027 but Myanmar informed that they cannot chair it in 2026.
“It is rotating. The only reason is Myanmar backed out. We should actually be [hosting in] 2027, but Myanmar wrote us saying they cannot chair, if we could fill in. Then last month, at the summit, they endorsed the Philippines hosting in 2026,” he said.
Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, who was presiding over the hearing, asked the DFA to provide the details on the Philippines’ preparation for the 2026 ASEAN Summit hosting before she sponsors their proposed P24.06-billion budget for 2024 at the Senate plenary.
She also asked the DFA to involve the Senate in their planning so they can provide inputs and extend support for the Philippines’ hosting.—AOL, GMA Integrated News
Source: GMA Network