At the invitation of President of the Philippines Mr. Benigno Aquino III, U Thein Sein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar paid a State Visit to the Philippines from 4 to 5 December 2013 . The delegation also included Union Ministers U Wunna Maung Lwin, U Soe Maung, U Myint Hlaing, U Zeyar Aung and Dr. Daw Myat Myat Ohn Khin, Chief of the General Staff ( Army, Navy and Air) General Hla Htay Win, Deputy Ministers U Ye Htut, Dr. Win Myint and Dr. Than Aung.
At the welcoming ceremony, the President was accorded a warm welcome by the President of the Philippines, and the two Presidents took the salute of and inspected the Guard of Honour. The two Presidents exchanged warm greetings at the Music Hall of the Palace.
The bilateral talks between the two leaders mainly focused on a broad range of issues on ASEAN and regional cooperation including trade and investment, education, human rights, agriculture and forestry, hotels and tourism, bilateral air services, banking, rural development and poverty reduction, security and peace-making experiences.
A signing ceremony of bilateral agreements and memoranda of understandings took place in the presence of the two Presidents on 5th December 2013.
They were as follows:
- An agreement on visa exemption for ordinary passport holders was signed by U Wunna Maung Lwin, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs and Secretary Albert F.Del Rosario of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines;
- An MoU on cooperation in food security and agriculture sector was signed by U Myint Hlaing, Union Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation and Secretary Proceso Alcala of the Department of Agriculture;
- A bilateral agreement on boosting cooperation in renewable energy sector was inked by U Zayar Aung, Union Minister for Energy and Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla of the Department of Energy;
- An MoU on cooperation in information sector was signed by U Ye Htut, Deputy Minister for Information and Secretary Herminio B.Coloma of the Presidential Communication Operations Office;
- An MoU of cooperation in trade and investment was signed by U Ye Myint Aung , Myanmar Ambassador to the Philippines and Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo of the Department of Trade and Industry;
- An agreement for cooperation between the two Federations as signed by U Win Aung , President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Mr. Miguel B. Varela , President of Philippine Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Dr. Daw Myat Myat Ohn Khin presented relief supplies for storm-stricken regions to the authorities concerned.
The Philippines President reaffirmed support for Myanmar’s reform process at the joint press conference and promised to cooperate in a wide range of sectors including education, health, human resources development, economic and agriculture. President Aquino expressed thanks for Myanmar’s aid assistance to storm and earthquake victims of the Philippines. President U Thein Sein in turn, expressed his appreciation to the government and the people of the Philippines for their support for Myanmar’s democracy reform process and sent deepest sympathy of Myanmar government and its people to the typhoon victims of the Philippines. President Aquino thanked Myanmar’s support for the peaceful settlement of disputes between concerned ASEAN members and the People’s Republic of China in a series of negotiations, making a pledge to actively participate in the works for full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea during Myanmar’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2014.
President U Thein Sein and his delegation attended a luncheon hosted by President Aquino at Aguinaldo Hall of the Philippines. Afterwards, President U Thein Sein and party laid wreaths at Dr. Jose Rizal Monument in the Rizal Park.
Myanmar and the Philippines started the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties since 1956 and the Philippines was ranked fifteen on the list of 32 countries making investments in 12 economic sectors in Myanmar last year.