PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will be celebrating his birthday “quietly without fanfare” with his family and close friends in Davao City, Malacañang said yesterday.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte, who will turn 72 years old today, opted to “veer away from public attention.”
“Traditionally, the President marks his birthday quietly without fanfare. He spends some quality time with family and close friends,” Abella said in a statement to Palace reporters yesterday.
“While certain offices may hold parallel celebration, the President usually veers away from public attention on his private and personal affairs,” he added. Duterte earlier said that his birthday wish is to have “more time and little strength” to be able to address the problems of the country.
Abella hoped that Duterte’s birthday wish would come true.
“I wish that his dreams for a great Filipino nation all come true,” he said.
The President is now in Davao City and will return to Manila on Thursday. Duterte was scheduled to later meet government chief peace negotiator and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Jesus Dureza in his presidential guesthouse in Panacan, Davao City.
The agenda of the meeting was not mentioned by Palace officials even as it came two days after the Communist Party of the Philippines announced that it would declare its unilateral ceasefire with the government before the end of March.
The declaration of unilateral ceasefire between the two parties is in line with the resumption of peace negotiations in the Netherlands on April 2 and 6.
Malacañang said that after his meeting with Bello and Dureza, the President will receive United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua, and Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjártó.
Agusan del Norte Governor Angelica Amante-Matba and Mary Jane Locsin, wife of Janiuay, Iloilo Mayor Frankie Locsin, are also set to visit Duterte.
Duterte will also have a meeting with Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari. The Chief Executive was initially set to meet Misuari last Friday but Malacañang had said it is “tentatively set this week or the coming week.”