President Rodrigo Duterte will participate in the United Nations (UN) General Assembly for the first time since assuming the presidency in 2016, Malacañang said on Monday.

The high-level general assembly will be held from Sept. 22 to 29.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event will be conducted virtually for the first time.

Duterte will speak on the first day.

This year’s general assembly marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations.

The session was themed: “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism – confronting Covid-19 through effective multilateral action.”

Chief of Presidential Protocol Robert Borje said Duterte would “tackle Philippine positions on a wide range of issues of key importance to the country.”

These include the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic; peace and security, including terrorism and geopolitical developments in the Asia Pacific; sustainable development and climate change; the rule of law; justice and human rights – including the situation of migrant workers and refugees; and peacekeeping and UN reforms.

In a Malacañang briefing, Borje said Duterte would also talk about his war on drugs.

In the early days of his presidency, Duterte criticized the UN over criticisms of his crackdown against illegal drugs. John Ezekiel J. Hirro