The Daily Manila Shimbun


(UPDATE) Duterte leaves for two-day official visit to Myanmar, Thailand

March 19, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte left the country on Sunday afternoon for his official visits to Myanmar and Thailand. Accompanying Duterte were Acting Secretary Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Presidential Communication Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar, National Security Advisory Hermogenes Esperon, Senator Vicente Sotto III, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña and Alex Chua,  Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Myanmar. ANC reported Duterte’s plane landed in Nay Pyi Taw Sunday evening. In his departure speech, Duterte said his visit will underscore the country’s commitment to deepen partnership with Myanmar. “As developing countries with similar historic experiences and facing the same challenges, we can use the synergies of interests as basis for strengthened cooperation. This is true in combatting traditional and emerging transnational crimes, including terrorism and violent extremism, piracy and the illicit drug trade,” he said. Duterte said the Philippines and Myanmar have “a common interest in sustaining inclusive growth and development for our peoples.” “Myanmar’s economic development is recognized as one of the fastest in our region and therefore bilateral trade and investment will be the key area of discussion,” he said. “With expanding Philippine businesses making their [marks] around the region and in Myanmar, we can encourage collaboration in mutually beneficial sectors of growth, including in pharmaceuticals and food and beverage. In Nay Pyi Taw,I look forward to discussions on these matters with President Htin Kyaw,” he added. Duterte saidhe “shall also meet State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Commander-in-Chief of Defense Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.” “In my discussions, I will convey the Philippines’ support for the reforms being undertaken by Myanmar as well as in its efforts to address challenges --- of certain problems in these regions,” he said. After Myanmar, Duterte is expected to proceed to Thailand Monday night. “In my visit to Bangkok, I will renew the Philippines’ commitment to further enhance our excellent relations with Thailand,” he said. “There is much at stake in relations. We have to move forward together on shared interests in securing security and stability in the region as we seek to sustain growth and development for our peoples,” he added. Duterte said he is looking forward to meet Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha “to discuss strengthening defense relations, intensifying trade and investment, and enhancing education, cooperation, among others.” “I’m also…I am scheduled to meet members of the corporate sector in Thailand to discuss economic opportunities in the Philippines,” he said. Duterte said in his visit to Myanmar and Thailand, he will welcome the important opportunity of meeting his fellow Filipinos “who have been key partners in our program for positive change and reform in our government.” “I will thank them for their support and apprise them of developments in the country. These visits will complete my swing of our ASEAN neighborhood. It will also presage the important regional leadership role reposed upon us for this historic ASEAN year,” he said. “I remain humbly your President who will look after our nation’s interests as I seek to pursue the collective objectives of the ASEAN region. We will strengthen partnerships for positive change as we engage our region and our world,” he added. (Robina Asido/DMS)