Welcome remarks delivered by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in honor of the leaders of Cambodia and Myanmar, on November 11, 2017 at Clark Free Port, Pampanga
Your Excellencies, Prime Minister Hun Sen and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Distinguished officials of the delegations from Cambodia and Myanmar. My colleagues in the Philippine Government, Ladies and Gentlemen:
A pleasant evening to everyone. We are truly honored to host esteemed guests from two of our Southeast Asian neighbors.
They are here, of course, to take part in the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits. As you are aware, this is a special year for the regional organization, as we commemorate the golden anniversary of its founding. During these times, we have seen the deepening of relations in the region.
It is also an auspicious time for the Philippine-Cambodia and Philippines-Myanmar ties, as we are on the heels of celebrating the 60th anniversary of the formal establishment of our bilateral relations. Decades, hence, we have evolved an abiding and flourishing friendship, which have been, and continue to be, strengthened through our active cooperation in the political, economic and cultural spheres.
President Duterte’s state visit to Cambodia resulted in cooperation agreements:
• Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Combating Transnational Crime (involving the Philippine National Police and Cambodia National Police)
• Memorandum of Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Labor
• Memorandum of Agreement on Sports Cooperation (involving the Philippine Sport Commission and Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports)
• Implementation Program of Tourism Cooperation 2016-2020 (involving the Philippines’ Department of Tourism and Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism)
The joint tourism program aims to revitalize tourism between the two countries. One of the program’s priorities is the establishment of direct flights from Manila to Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh and also Siem Reap. There are direct Cebu Pacific flights between Manila and Siem Reap but none to the Cambodia capital Phnom Penh.
Another aspect of the agreement is enhanced exchange programs for Filipino and Cambodian hospitality and tourism students.
Meanwhile, Filipino TV dramas have captured the hearts of Cambodian audiences. One serye shown on CTN-My TV was “Amaya.” Its main protagonist was portrayed by Filipino actress Marian Rivera.
Aside from Filipino television shows, there are Filipino companies operating in Cambodia, among others, San Miguel Corp., Liwayway, Davies Paints and Penshoppe.
Snack food manufacturer Liwayway has also already made investments in Myanmar, as well as Unilab, Splash Asia Brewery, Manila Water and Comworks.
During President Duterte’s visit to Myanmar, he witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on food security and agricultural cooperation. He also handed over a pledge worth UA$300,000 to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for the Philippines’ humanitarian assistance to Rakhine State, the biggest donation made so far by an ASEAN member this year. It will be recalled that Myanmar was also the first to help the Philippines when the country was hit by super typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
The high-level exchanges of President Duterte’s visit to Cambodia and Myanmar and the visits of Prime Minister Hun Sen and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi further build on the excellent state of our ties and reinforce the importance we place to our relationship.
On this note, I ask everyone to raise their glasses:
To His Excellency, Prime Minister Hun Sen, and Her Excellency, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, for their continued good health, success and happiness.
To the enduring friendship between the Philippines, Cambodia and Myanmar.