DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will depart here Sunday afternoon, for his two-day official visit to the Republic Union of Myanmar on March 19 to 20.

Department of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Charles Jose said Duterte’s visits are part of his “introductory visits to countries in South East Asia”.

“Myanmar and Thailand are the only two remaining countries in the region that President has not yet visited,” Jose said.

President Duterte was invited by Myanmar President Htin Kyaw who assumed office also in 2016.

Jose sad the two officials are scheduled to hold bilateral talks.

Duterte is also scheduled to meet state counselor and foreign minister, Aung Sang Suu Kyi and Commander in Chief of Defense Services, Senior General   Min Aung Hlaing.

“As has been the practice, President Duterte will meet with them members of the Filipino community in the Nay Pyi Daw,  the country’s capital. During these occasions, the President makes it a point to apprise our countrymen about his administrations’ priority programs and developments in the Philippines,” Jose said.

Jose said Myanmar has approximately 1,800 Filipinos. He said most of the Filipino migrants are employed in foreign firms and international organizations.

He said there are no agreements that are expected to be signed in Myanmar. Philippines-Myanmar diplomatic relations are over 60 years old, with ties formally established in 1956.

“Our embassy in Rangoon, now, Yangoon was opened in 1958. Myanmar is also a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN.  Joining the group in 1997 when the organization celebrated, its 30th anniversary,” Jose said.

Duterte will also visit Bangkok for the second time. During his previous trip in November last year, Duterte pay his respects to the late Thai Monarch, his Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Jose said Duterte’s trip in Thailand to meet Thai Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o-cha are scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting where they are expected to discuss issues of mutual concern.

“Including political, economic, agriculture, energy, education and defense cooperation.  President Duterte is expected to brief Thai officials on the priorities and programs of the Philippines for its ASEAN chairmanship this year,” he said.

Duterte will also meet more than 16,000 Filipinos living and working and Thailand.

The diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Thailand were formally established in June 1949.

Jose said the Philippines is expected to sign agreements during Duterte’s  visit to Thailand.

“Mostly they  will be in the  areas of agriculture and science and technology, energy  and I think, education, but these agreements are still being finalized,” he said.(davaotoday.com)

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