Zubiri says US' absence at 31st APPF due to Thanksgiving holiday | Global News

Zubiri says US’ absence at 31st APPF due to Thanksgiving holiday

/ 04:48 PM November 25, 2023

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Saturday defended and clarified the non-attendance of the United States in the 31st Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) hosted by the Philippines.

Speaking to the press, Zubiri explained that invitation letters were, in fact, sent to US parliamentarians and some of them have expressed interest in attending the event.

“It’s unfortunate na ang timing lang nito is that it is Thanksgiving. I’m sure kung ako rin ang magyaya sa inyo ng Good Friday or Easter Sunday, halos lahat kayo ay hindi sasama dahil gusto niyong kasama ang pamilya niyo,” said Zubiri.


(It’s unfortunate that the event is scheduled in time for Thanksgiving. I am certain if I invited you on Good Friday or Easter Sunday, almost everyone wouldn’t come because you want to be with your family.)


Zubiri aired this clarification after Senator Imee Marcos questioned the US’ non-attendance in the event. According to Marcos, the APPF is “sadly blighted by the absence of the US.”

She then prodded if the Philippines failed to invite the American officials in time.

But Zubiri insisted that they were invited.

“Let me just clarify this – they were invited. I think Senator Imee was misinformed; we invited the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the United States and also many senators to come,” said the Senate chief, partly in Filipino.

“I think we should put that to rest,” he added later on, saying that he even has letters from US Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio who have expressed their interest in attending the 31st APPF.

Zubiri likewise pointed out that US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson wrote his office a letter, asking if the APPF may be rescheduled at a later date, but the Senate chief said that at that time, the invitations were already sent to member-states.


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