MANILA, Dec 5 (Mabuhay) –President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed President Thein Sein of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar during arrival honors in Malacañang Palace on Thursday.
A 21-gun salute was rendered in honor of the visiting head of state during the playing of the national anthems of both countries at 10 a.m. at the Malacañang grounds.
After the arrival ceremonies, the President ushered President Thein Sein to the traditional signing of the Palace Guest Book before proceeding to the Music Room.
President Thein Sein arrived in Manila on Wednesday for a three-day state visit.
The Myanmar President first went to Rizal Park in Manila for the wreath-laying rites at the foot of the monument of the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, before proceeding to Malacanang Palace.
Joining the President in welcoming the visiting head of state in Malacanang Palace were Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr., and Presidential Management Staff head Secretary Julia Abad, among others.
Upon the invitation of President Aquino, President Thein Sein arrived here to hold bilateral talks in Malacanang Palace.
The Communications Secretary said the two leaders are scheduled to attend the signing of several agreements such as cooperation on trade and investments, food security and agriculture, Agreement on renewable energy, information cooperation in the fields of news exchange, radio, and television broadcasting, film industries, public relations, and printing and publishing and an agreement on visa exemption of ordinary passport holders.
The Representatives from the chambers of commerce and industries of both countries are also set to sign an agreement to expand business opportunities and trade relations.
After the signing of the agreements, Coloma said the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement of Myanmar and the Department of Social Welfare and Development will exchange notes on the turnover of Myanmar’s donation for the victims of the Central Visayas earthquake and typhoon Yolanda.
The President will tender a state luncheon in honor of the visiting head of state following the bilateral talks.
The Myanmar President will visit the International Rice Research Institute in Los Baños, Laguna and Cebu province to explore investment opportunities in the agricultural sector and to visit some typhoon-affected areas, Coloma said.
The state visit is President Thein Sein’s first visit to the Philippines since his assumption to office in 2011. The last time a head of state from Myanmar visited the Philippines was in 2005 when Prime Minister Soe Win visited Manila.
President Aquino and President Thein Sein had their first bilateral meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on June 07, 2013, when the Chief Executive attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia hosted by Myanmar. It will be the Philippines turn to host the said forum in 2015.
Myanmar donated seven (7) tons of relief goods and US$100,000 to the victims of typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
The Philippines and Myanmar established diplomatic relations in 1956 and will celebrate the 60th anniversary of their relations in 2016. (MNS)