Bing Calls ASEAN Special Gala ‘Historic, Awesome’

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the Special Gala Dinner Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that President Rodrigo Duterte hosted Sunday was “historic” and “awesome.”

“Considering that it was a 50th year celebration, I can say it was one experience in a life time. The Philippines took center stage at that moment and we were mighty proud hosting such a historic event in the ASEAN.”

“It was an enchanting evening and truly, the honor of being present in the Gala Dinner was awesome. I consider this a major highlight of my political career. I also thank the people of Bacolod for all these,” the mayor said.

Leonardia was one of the few local officials invited by Duterte to the grand celebration held at the SMX Convention Center in Manila.

The mayor joined the Philippine entourage of senators, congressmen, and business leaders as Duterte welcomed the 22 world leaders—including US President Donald Trump, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Myanmar’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi—who are participating in the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

“I would like to thank President Rodrigo Duterte for the invitation to the Gala Dinner which he hosted for the heads of state of the 10 member-nations and 12 dialogue-partner countries. The presence of these world leaders gave much significance and glitter to the event,” Leonardia said.

“The rare privilege of shaking hands with US President Donald Trump, Canada Premiere Justin Trudeau, and Myanmar international icon Aung San Suu Kyi was something I will surely treasure,” the mayor added.

Leonardia has been pushing for positioning Bacolod as a premier city in Southeast Asia, expressing confidence that it will have brighter prospects with the ASEAN integration.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has informed Leonardia that Bacolod was the first local government in the country to have made moves last year towards awareness and implementation of the ASEAN integration.

“We will now interact with the rest of Southeast Asia,” Leonardia said, referring to the economic integration of the 10-member countries.*