Duterte's meet with Thailand envoy ends hiatus

MANILA. President Rodrigo Duterte receives the letter of credentials of His Excellency Vasin Ruangprateepsaeng, Ambassador-Designate of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Philippines, during the presentation of credentials ceremony at the Reception Hall in Malacañan Palace on May 21, 2019. (Photo from RTVM video)

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, May 21, ended his week-long hiatus when he welcomed Thailand Ambassador to the Philippines Vasin Ruangprateepsaeng at Malacañan Palace.

Duterte attended an official function for the first time, after a week of staying out of the public eye, prompting speculations that he was ill.

In a speech, the President assured Ruangprateepsaeng that he would find it easy to adapt to the Philippines.

"I am very happy of your presence today and congratulations to your new deployment. I understand this is the first ambassadorial assignment that you have for the Republic of Thailand," Duterte said during the Thailand ambassador's presentation of credentials.

"I’m sure that you would learn so many things along the way. You won’t have a hard time. We are similar in all things including our desire to have a peaceful southeast Pacific region. Welcome," he added.

Duterte was last seen on May 13, when he cast his vote for the 2019 midterm elections in Davao City.

Over the weekend, rumors broke out that the 74-year-old President was rushed to and confined in Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan Center for a medical emergency.

Malacañang denied the allegations about Duterte's health and assured that the President is well.

In a press conference earlier Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo assured the public that that there was nothing to worry about the Chief Executive's health.

"You must remember that the President is very transparent on his health condition. Nothing to worry about [his health]," Panelo said.

"Kung talagang serious, he would tell us. Pero kung sakit ng ulo lang, migraine, hindi naman kailangang sabihin 'yun (If he's suffering from serious illness, he would tell is. But if it's just a migraine, there's no need to tell us)," he added.

Duterte has repeatedly admitted that he is suffering from chronic back pains and migraine.

He has also admitted to having Barrett's esophagus condition and Berger's disease.

In September 2018, Duterte revealed that he underwent endoscopy and colonoscopy to check on the "growth" in his digestive tract, which doctors feared might develop into cancer.

But in October the same year, he announced to the public that his medical results showed that he tested negative for cancer. (SunStar Philippines)


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