FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo has tested positive for COVID-19, he said in a tweet on Monday, which means he will have to skip the 55th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia this week.
“This would have been my first ASEAN engagement in my capacity as Secretary for Foreign Affairs, so it is unfortunate that my absence happens at this important time,” he said.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations and ASEAN Affairs Theresa P. Lazaro will represent the Philippines in the event.
“I will concentrate on recovery so I can go back to working at DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) as soon as possible, and I look forward to the next opportunity to meet with ASEAN colleagues and our dialogue partners,” Mr. Manalo said.
During the meeting, the region’s foreign leaders will witness the signing of the instruments of accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia by Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, according to a statement last week from Cambodia’s foreign ministry. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan