MANILA, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will not attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders' summit scheduled on Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Duterte "has decided to remain in the country to attend to pressing domestic concerns in light of the surge of COVID-19 cases."

The Philippines now has over 962,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 16,265 deaths.

The DFA said Duterte has designated Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin as his "special envoy" to the summit that will discuss ASEAN's "collective efforts in addressing threats and challenges to peace and stability in the region."

"This special leaders' meeting will address urgent matters in the region, including recovery efforts, the situation in Myanmar, ASEAN community-building efforts, external relations, and regional and international issues," the DFA statement added.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.