By Roy Mabasa
President Rodrigo Duterte was given military honors as soon as he arrived at the President’s Palace in Myanmar at exactly 2:00 p.m. local time.
President Duterte was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Agricuture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Sen. Vicente Sotto III, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Isidro Lapeña, and Philippine Ambassador to Myanmar Alex Chua.
Duterte personally expressed his gratitude to Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw, who assumed office also in 2016, for hosting Filipinos who are mostly professionals.
Myanmar is home to approximately 1,800 Filipinos. Data from the embassy show that many of them are employed in foreign firms and international organizations.
President Duterte is currently holding bilateral talks with President U Htin Kyaw.
After the meeting, a signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding on food security will be held also at the Presidential Palace.
President Duterte will later meet other high-level government officials, including State Counselor and Foreign Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
In the evening, U Htin Kyaw will host a state banquet in honor of the visiting Filipino leader.