|Arrival Statement of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte following his official visits to Republic of the Union of Myanmar and The Kingdom of Thailand|
|Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, Pasay City|
|23 March 2017|
|Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea; the members of the Cabinet here; Congresswoman Imelda Calixto-Rubiano, the lone district of Pasay; City of Pasay Mayor Antonio Calixto; fellow workers in government; mga kababayan.
I am pleased to be back home.
I return from Official Visits to Myanmar and Thailand with a renewed sense of optimism for the future of our relations with the two of our important friends in the region and our brothers in ASEAN.
In Myanmar, I held fruitful and productive discussions with President U Kyaw on how to further deepen and broaden bilateral cooperation.
We agreed to intensify two-way trade and investments to sustain growth for our peoples.
With the many growing Philippine companies seeking new markets in our region and in Myanmar, I emphasized the value of economic partnerships between the private sectors in ASEAN countries.
We emphasized the need for law enforcement collaboration in order to address terrorism, violent extremism, piracy and drug trafficking.
We resolved to have stronger collaboration in human resource development through education, capacity building and technical assistance.
Both sides recognized the importance of providing accessible and affordable food for our peoples.
In this regard, we signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Food Security and Agricultural Cooperation. President U Htin Kyaw and I directed the responsible agencies to ensure that the objectives of this agreement would be
realized through concrete projects.
In my meeting with Daw San Suu Kyi, I expressed support for the reform movement in Myanmar; and our similar historic experiences, we have a joint stake in strengthening democratic values, institutions and processes in the region.
I also expressed support for Myanmar’ efforts to address the challenges in the affected communities of the Rakhine State.
Our modest financial assistance is just one way of the many ways the Philippines can help find Myanmar in finding a lasting solution to the complex issues it faces in that state.
With Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, we underscored the importance of further strengthening defense and security ties.
This is vital in order to address the menace of terrorism, violent extremism, piracy and illegal trade—drug. These scourges threaten to undermine the growth we have so far achieved.
In Thailand, I had a warm and open discussions with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Prime Minister Prayut and I identified two key areas for further elevating the excellent ties between the Philippines and Thailand.
Among many areas, we agreed to expand cooperation to address security which is really the common concern of everybody in this region: it’s terrorism, extremism and they also have a very serious problem about drugs.
We affirmed the intensified collaboration in the areas of military, trade and investment, tourism, agriculture, science and technology, energy, education, among others.
We signed three important documents: Agreement in the Field of Science and Technology, Implementing Agreement on the Specific Areas of Cooperation on Swamp and Dairy Buffalo Production, and the Implementing Program of Tourism Cooperation in 2017-2022.
I also met Charoen Pokphand Group officials which committed 2 billion dollars in investment expansion in five years. They are already here.
This will largely focus on the Visayas and Mindanao region. With the leaders of Federation of Thai Industries, Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thai Bankers’ Association, Thai-Philippines Business Council, and Philippines-Thai Business Association, and I sought more investments for our country.
On both visits, the South China Sea was discussed. We stressed the need to maintain peace and stability in the region. We underscored respect for freedom of navigation and overflight rights in the interest of all countries and outside the region.
We emphasized the need for the full, effective implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and expressed determination to complete the Framework of the Code of Conduct in 2017.
On a final note, as you are aware, the Philippines is the Chair of ASEAN this year.
Both visits were important for me to get to know my counterparts and to discuss them the issues concerning our region and of our hosting in the 30th ASEAN this year.
In both visits, I sought and received the support of Myanmar and Thailand for the Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship.
I put forward our initiatives and priorities for a stronger ASEAN and as the Philippines’ takes on the helm of the ASEAN Chairmanship this year, we seek to set the tone of the next 50 years of ASEAN.
Now, more than ever, it is important to realize that our destiny lies in ASEAN and the other Pacific region.
Your government is making sure that the priorities and initiatives put forth in ASEAN reflect the aspirations of our people.
More importantly, we want to ensure that the benefits gained from ASEAN are not only felt by the elite but, more importantly, by the people on the ground.
We want an ASEAN that is for the people, a truly people-oriented and people-centered community.
I enjoin all of you, my countrymen to take part in this regional community-building process and the Philippines will take its leadership role.
Together, the Philippines can do its part as a leader of this region.
Daghang salamat ug maayong buntag kaninyong tanan. (applause)
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