Toast Remarks of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the Official Dinner held in His Honor in Myanmar
Presidential Palace, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar
20 March 2017
Your Excellency, President U Htin Kyaw, and Daw Su Su Lwin, Your Excellency State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen. Mingalaba.

I am pleased to finally visit your beautiful country. It is a rich nation in history and culture, and a people steep in proud traditions.

For this singular experience, I am thankful to President U Htin Kyaw. The welcome has been warm and the hospitality most generous. I feel I am at home and amongst friends.

My visit happens at an auspicious time for the Philippines and Myanmar.

Last year, we marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Philippine – Myanmar bilateral relations.

This year, we turn the page for a new chapter of ties that should rightly be strong and deeper.

Six decades of formal diplomatic relationship have seen the growth of an abiding and flourishing friendship. With our common historic experiences and shared dreams of peace, progress and prosperity for our peoples, we have a unique bond that we must continue to nurture and strengthen.

We have sought and seen remarkable progress and active cooperation in the areas of agriculture, labor and trade and investment. We aim for more.

My visit demonstrates the commitment of my country to expand cooperation with Myanmar on a broad range of issues.

As developing countries, we face similar and complex problems. We must not be afraid to confront them head on.

We should use our friendship as a solid base for our fulcrum of collaboration that transformed challenges into opportunities.

In defense and security, we must work closer to address the threats of terrorism and violent extremism that can undermine the economic progress we have so far achieved.

We should be unrelenting in our fight to dismantle the apparatus of the illegal drug trade. This menace is a challenge that knows no borders and affects all of us in the region.

In trade and investment, we must sustain our growth rates so that everyone, I mean everyone in our societies enjoy the blessings of prosperity.

Already, the Philippine businesses are helping fuel growth to investments in key sectors in Myanmar such as pharmaceuticals and food and beverages.

Philippine companies will remain keenly interested in the development potentials of Myanmar, which is among the highest in the region.

Myanmar too can use to its full advantage the many opportunities for education and training in the Philippines.

My country is an emerging education hub in the region because of competitive academic institutions.

More than a hundred Myanmar nationals have trained in the Philippines in sectors such as construction and agriculture under the 1998 Human Resource Package between the Philippines and Myanmar.

But apart from opportunities in education, in private institutions, my country remains committed to do its part as a development partner of Myanmar in the area of human resource development.

Capacity building is an important dimension in our relations and we continue to do so, including training for the diplomats.

I note as well that the vibrant exchange between our peoples. There is a proud presence of Filipinos in Myanmar. There are more than 1,800 who are the human bridges of friendship between our nations: as teachers, lawyers, engineers and humanitarian workers, they contribute to the socio-economic development of their host country and back home. Thank you for welcoming them here.

Excellency, there is respect and mutual understanding borne by these interactions. This is why in times of calamities, both our sides have been ready to provide assistance.

I thank you and the people of Myanmar for the timely assistance, particularly those who were affected by typhoon “Pablo,” which hit my island in Mindanao, the earthquake in Bohol, and the typhoon [Haiyan].

Indeed, it is in times of need that you know who are your friends.

In our own modest way, please note that the Philippines is ready to support Myanmar in its own humanitarian challenges.

Excellency, this year, our friendship gains special significance as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN’s establishment.

We have become [a] stronger association; we have become brothers in our regions. Let us work together to sustain the momentum of growth, security and stability for the ASEAN region.

The Philippines counts on Myanmar’s full support during our ASEAN chairmanship.

Together, we can work for the change we want as we engage the larger world.

Indeed as friends and partners, there is much to look forward to for a shared future of greater peace, progress and prosperity for our nations and peoples.

On this note, may I ask everyone to take hold of their glasses for a toast:

To His Excellency, President U Htin Kyaw and Daw Su Su Lwin, and for their continued good health and for the prosperity of Myanmar.

Cheers! Mabuhay!