20 March 2017

President Duterte Aims To From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella on the Death of Leticia Ramos Shahani
The Palace is saddened by the news of former senator and career diplomat Leticia Ramos Shahani’s passing this morning.

Senator Shahani served the nation well as Senator of the Republic and worked tirelessly in the executive branch in various capacities under different administrations.

Our condolences and prayers to the family and friends of the former Senator. She was a profound humanist and her voice will be missed.

President Duterte meets Myanmar’s highest officials, forges stronger ties with Myanmar
NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte met with Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw at the Presidential Palace in his first official visit here, which is expected to forge deeper bilateral ties between the two countries.

Upon his arrival at the Presidential Palace, President Duterte was warmly received by President U Htin Kyaw for a simple ceremony at the Palace grounds.

The President wore a Barong Tagalog while President U Htin Kyaw wore the longyi, Myanmar’s traditional costume.

The two leaders then proceeded inside the Palace, where President Duterte signed the guest book.

The two leaders then held a bilateral meeting, where President U Htin Kyaw said he appreciates the visit of President Duterte to Myanmar.

President Duterte then thanked the Myanmar leader for the warm welcome he and his delegation had received in his first official visit to the country. 

Also present at the bilateral meeting were Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., Philippine Ambassador to Myanmar Alex Chua, and Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Vicente Sotto III.

Following the bilateral meeting, President Duterte witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Food Security and Agricultural Cooperation, which was signed between the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture and Myanmar’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.

The President also met with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the Call Room of the Presidential Palace.

In the said meeting, President Duterte also handed over a pledge worth US $300,000 to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for the Philippines’ humanitarian assistance to Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the biggest donation made so far made by an ASEAN member state to Myanmar’s Rakhine State this year.

It will be recalled that Myanmar was also the first to help the Philippines when the country was hit by supertyphoon Yolanda in 2013.

Myanmar’s former president  U Thein Sein was also the first to visit Bantayan island in Cebu after it was devastated by supertyphoon Yolanda.

President Duterte also met with Myanmar’s  Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at the Horizon Lake View Hotel. ###PND

President Rodrigo Duterte to Filipino community in Myanmar: Philippines is now safer under current administration
President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos in Myanmar to visit the Philippines to experience that the country is much safer under his current administration.

In his speech before the Filipino community in Myanmar, President Duterte encouraged the community “to go home and find out what’s happening in our country.”

“At least makakalakad na kayo. It will be peaceful. And your children can go out, and your sisters and brothers, and they will be safe,” President Duterte said.

Duterte arrived on Sunday evening at around 6:10 pm, Myanmar Standard Time, for the honors at the Naypyi Taw International Airport while a cheering crowd of around 250 Filipinos waited for him to arrive at the Horizon Lake View Resort where he delivered his speech.

There was also a short red carpet on the tarmac lined with Burmese honor guards where the President was met by Philippine Ambassador to Burma Alex Chua and Myanmar officials dressed in their traditional garb.

“Filipinos are well regarded in Myanmar,” Chua said. “They contribute to the development of the economies of both the Philippines and Myanmar.”

The meeting with the Filipino community is the first activity scheduled in President Duterte’s first official visit to Myanmar and gave a talk before Filipinos about his administration’s priority programs in the Philippines.

According to Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella, President Duterte will be aiming to further strengthen the friendships of both Myanmar and Thailand through greater cooperation in fields of mutual interests.

The President reiterated in his speech before the Filipino community his promise to protect the Filipino people and to preserve his nation.

“Actually all I have to do is just to remember my oath and I would do anything to protect the Filipino and preserve my nation. ‘Yun lang ang trabaho ko,” he said.

Duterte also emphasized that he wanted to promote the bilateral relations and the cohesiveness of the organization among the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations countries.

“It’s high time that we put up something also vis-à-vis ‘yung EU. Ganon na lang,” he said.

Duterte also thanked the government of Myanmar for helping the Philippines in many ways.

“My gratitude to you, to the government and the people of Myanmar,” he said.

Duterte also mentioned that he really promised to stop graft and corruption in the current administration.

“There will never be graft and corruption in my government. Hindi talaga ako papayag,” he underscored.

“Sabi ko na the first whiff, the first whiff of corruption. Pagka medyo may nagsingaw, let’s go separate ways para walang, wala nang duda-duda ang mga tao and I’m committed to really do that,” Duterte added.

In a media interview, Duterte said that he seeks charter change to shift the country’s form of government to a federal system; political power and government resources under this system will be decentralized to the countryside.

He mentioned that he was considering former president and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo to a body that will propose changes to the 1987 Constitution.

“Maybe, maybe. Maybe pero baka ayaw din niya (She might not agree). But maybe,” he said of Arroyo’s possible inclusion in the constitutional commission.

During his speech before the Filipino community, Duterte said he was “okay” with his US counterpart, Donald Trump.

“Si President Trump, okay kami. Okay kami ni President Trump and I can assure him also of our friendship and cooperation. Walang problema ‘yan,” Duterte said.

Duterte said he is ready to give his all out support to the Trump administration except military alliances. “Ayaw ko na niyan. Hindi natin kaya. Why do we look for trouble? Bakit maghingi ako ng magpunta-punta ako diyan para makipag-away lang….Huwag tayong maghanap ng away, hanap-buhay lang. Someday but not now,” he said. ###PND