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Duterte set to join Biden’s democracy summit

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President Rodrigo Duterte will join 110 other world leaders this week at a virtual two-day “Summit for Democracy” convened by the United States, according to Malacañang.

The Office of the President (OP) confirmed Duterte’s attendance at the summit scheduled on Thursday and Friday, which aims to bring together leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector to advance “democratic renewal” across the globe.

“President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted US President Joseph R. Biden Jr’s invitation to participate in the Summit for Democracy on 9 to 10 December,” the OP said through a statement.

“President Duterte likewise welcomes the opportunity to share the Philippine democratic experience and commitment to democratic values and nation-building at the Summit for Democracy,” it added.

Biden, in his invitation letter to Duterte, had said that Washington aims to host the high-profile meeting in the “spirit of mutual learning.”

He added that he is looking forward to welcome the Philippine leader and hear his ideas on fostering a “more democratic, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable world.”

“We recognize and appreciate your partnership in working to build democratic and human rights-respecting societies that allow all citizens to thrive,” he told Duterte in his letter.

According to the US State Department, the summit will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights.

Participating leaders, it added, are encouraged to announce specific actions and commitments to “meaningful” internal reforms and international initiatives that advance the summit’s goals, namely, opposing authoritarianism, fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights.

“Civil society will be represented on panels and in townhalls as a part of the official program,” the US State Department also said.

The White House is also inviting activist and business groups, and officials of non-governmental organizations for the global meet, which has its origins in Biden’s rebuke of his predecessor during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Biden previously vowed to “take immediate steps to renew US democracy and alliances” if elected president.

This year’s summit will be held via video conference because of the persisting coronavirus threat.

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