The Philippines and Myanmar on Thursday signed several bilateral agreements, including no-visa travel between the two countries.
The agreements were signed during the visit of Myanmar President Thein Sein in Malacanang on Thursday. Thein Sein arrived in Manila on Wednesday for a three-day state visit.
First to be signed was an agreement granting visa exemption to Filipino ordinary passport holders. Filipinos can now stay in Myanmar for up to 14 days without need for a visa.
Myanmar nationals may already enter the Philippines without a visa for up to 30 days under Executive Order 408. It was signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Myanmar Minister for Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin.
Both governments also signed an agreement in agriculture which establishes a general framework for bilateral cooperation in the field of food security and agriculture and provides for the promotion of investments through joint venture arrangements. It was signed by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Myanmar Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation U Myint Hlaing.
Another pact provides for the exchange of technical expertise, joint research and development activities in renewable energy resources, information exchange and networking and other-related activities in the successful adoption of renewable energy technologies and their commercialization. It was signed by Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla and Myanmar Minister for Energy U Zayar Aung.
The fourth agreement allows information cooperation and exchange between media entities in the Philippines and Myanmar. It also provides for an exchange of visits of journalists, cooperation between private radio and TV networks, and sharing of best practices in media’s role in national development and the peace process.
The agreement covers news exchanges, radio and television broadcasting, film industries, public relations, printing and publishing. It was signed by Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. and Myanmar deputy minister for Information U Ye Htut.
A trade and investments cooperation agreement calls for closer cooperation in the facilitation of investments between the Philippines and Myanmar through the dissemination of investment information and consultation with the business community, among others. It was signed by Trade and Industry Undersecretary for trade and investment promotions Ponciano Manalo, Jr. and Myanmar Amb. U Ye Myint Aung.
The trade groups of both countries also signed a memorandum of agreement for the exchange of information and the establishment of business contacts between the chambers of commerce of both countries.
Both parties groups will establish business contacts via conferences, seminars, study tours, exchange of trade groups, and participation in trade fairs. It was signed by PCCI president Miguel Varela and UMFCCI president U Win Aung.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE