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article imageMyanmar, Philippines sign visa exemption agreement

By Leo Reyes     Dec 6, 2013 in Politics
The Philippines and Myanmar have signed a visa-free agreement during the state visit of Myanmar President Thein Sein in the Philippines on Thursday.
The two Asian countries are members of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Under the agreement, Filipinos can travel to Myanmar without a need for a visa. The Philippines has already extended the same arrangement to citizens of Myanmar ahead of the signing of the agreement.
Other bilateral agreements were also signed by the president of both countries that intends to boost cooperation in sectors of agriculture, communication, energy, trade, commerce and tourism.
President Benigno Aquino said the just-concluded agreements are intended to strengthen cooperation in various aspects of economic development by the two counties.
"Our meeting this morning — in fact, President Thein Sein’s visit to the Philippines — is a testimony to our desire to learn more from each other and advance cooperation in various fields. We look forward to an even stronger relationship with Myanmar, as we prepare for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 2016," he said.
Myanmar is coming off years of isolation brought about by years of military rule that put the country under severe economic sanctions by western economic powers for human rights violations.
In less than two years, President Thein Sein has put in place wide-ranging economic, political and social reforms in the impoverished Southeast Asian country.
Aside from the relaxation of government control on media, Thein Sein has kept his promise to release political prisoners who are languishing in jails for their political views.
On the economic front, Thein Sein has been successful in getting the US and Europe to lift economic sanctions which hinder the growth of international trade.
Democracy leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who was released from captivity two years ago, has been instrumental in mounting a call for western economies to help the emerging democracy in Myanmar. Read more:
President Thein Sein flew to Cebu Friday enroute to Bantayan Island to visit the town, which was heavily damaged by Typhoon Haiyan.
"President Thein Sein and his party landed at the Sta. Fe Airport in Bantayan Island where he had a meeting with the local officials," PCOO News reports.
The Myanmar president was scheduled to return to Cebu City from Bantayan in the afternoon en route to Myanmar following his three-day state visit to the Philippines.
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