President Rodrigo Duterte (MNS photo)

MANILA, Dec 8 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted the invitation of United States (US) President Joseph “Joe” Biden Jr. to participate in the Summit for Democracy via video conference on Dec. 9 and 10.

“Biden invited Heads of State and Government, other government leaders and voices from the business and nongovernment sectors to join the US in taking action to strengthen democracy,” a statement from the Office of the President read.

In his invitation letter to Duterte, Biden said the US will “host the Summit for Democracy with humility and in the spirit of mutual learning.”

Biden said together, “we will embark on the work necessary to shape a prosperous and peaceful future built on respect for the rights and aspirations of all people.”

“We recognize and appreciate your partnership in working to build democratic and human rights-respecting societies that allow all citizens to thrive. In a moment of significant challenge and enormous opportunity, it is more important than ever for democracies to prove that we can deliver for the needs of our people,” he said in his invitation.

Biden said he also looks forward to welcoming Duterte and hearing his ideas on “how we can foster a more democratic, equitable, inclusive and sustainable world.”

Duterte likewise welcomed the opportunity to share the Philippine democratic experience and commitment to democratic values and nation-building at the Summit for Democracy.

The Summit for Democracy 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 at home and abroad, according to its website.

In advance of the first summit, the US is consulting with experts from government, multilateral organizations, philanthropies, civil society, and the private sector to solicit bold, practicable ideas around three key themes namely defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights.

“Leaders will be encouraged to announce specific actions and commitments to meaningful internal reforms and international initiatives that advance the Summit’s goals,” it said.

“These pledges will include domestic and international initiatives that counter authoritarianism, combat corruption, and promote respect for human rights,” it added.

In October, Duterte said he wanted to visit the US to personally thank their government for the donation of vaccines against Covid-19.

To date, the US has provided more than PHP1.9 billion (USD39 million) to support the Philippines’ Covid-19 response. (MNS)

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