By Roy Mabasa
President Rodrigo Duterte and Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw have vowed to strengthen the bilateral relations between their two countries.
President Duterte and President U Htin, Myanmar’s first civilian President on 5 decades, reached this agreement during their bilateral talks held at the Presidential Palace in Myanmar Monday afternoon, March 20.
The Philippines and Myanmar celebrated 60 years of bilateral relations the previous year.
After the bilateral talks, President Duterte met State Counselor and Foreign Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with whom he discussed regional cooperation of ASEAN and possible ways to strengthen bilateral relations between the Philippines and Myanmar.
President Duterte also sought and received the support of the President U Htin and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi for the Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN this year.
In discussions, President Duterte also called for increased two way trade and investment, citing the growing presence of Philippine companies in Myanmar.
President Duterte in a handover ceremony following the meeting turned over a symbolic check representing the Philippines’ pledge of $300,000 humanitarian assistance for communities in the Rakhine state.
Among ASEAN countries, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand have contributed assistance to the Rakhine state.
According to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who is part of the Presidential delegation, Duterte continues to build ASEAN consensus with the humanitarian assistance the Philippine government has extended for communities in the Rakhine state.
“Peace leads to development,” said Cayetano. “No development if there’s no peace.”