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Pinoys may now enjoy visa-free entry to Myanmar

The Philippines and Myanmar on Thursday formalized their agreement entailing Filipinos for a visa-free entry to Myanmar for up to 14 days.

This was after Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Myanmar Foreign Affairs Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) granting Filipinos the privilege.

“The MOA grants a no-visa entry to Filipino nationals holding ordinary passports for stays in Myanmar not exceeding 14 days,” a Malacañang statement said. “Myanmar nationals may already enter the Philippines without a visa for up to 30 days under Executive Order 408.”

President Benigno Aquino III said this agreement will give Filipinos “greater opportunities to see the beauty of Myanmar.”

“This will also facilitate the people-to-people exchanges that are vital to our countries’ relationship,” he added at a joint press briefing with visiting Myanmar president U Thein Sein.

Aside from visa-free arrangement, the two countries also entered into five more agreements:

  • Food Security. The Philippines and Myanmar agreed to promote investments in agriculture through joint venture arrangements.
  •  Renewable Energy. The two countries vowed to share their expertise and research on renewable energy technologies and its commercialization.
  • Media. The agreement entailed both countries to exchange information on media’s role in national development and peace process through journalist exchanges and other activities.
  • Trade. The Philippines and Myanmar called for a tighter cooperation in facilitation investment between two countries.
  • Commerce and Industry. This agreement involved business contacts between the Chambers of Commerce of both countries through conferences, seminars, study tours, and trade fairs.  

The two countries also agreed to update their 1979 Air Services Agreement.

“Myanmar offers ample investment opportunities. At such, I have proposed President Aquino to ask Filipino investors and businessmen to come and invest in Myanmar,” Sein said in the joint press briefing.
For his part, Aquino said: “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.”

“We also discussed the necessity of further cooperation to combat illicit trafficking and abuse of drugs, as part of our joint efforts to address transnational crime,” he added.

Myanmar also pledged $50,000 donation to the victims of Bohol earthquake, which hit the province on October 15, and $100,000 donation to the victim of Super Typhoon Yolanda, which battered the Visayas Region early November.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to express on behalf of the people of Myanmar our profound condolences to the victims of earthquake and recent victims of super typhoon Yolanda,” Sein said.

“To show solidarity and support to the people of the Philippines, I will be touring the typhoon-affected area,” he added.

Sein is scheduled to depart on Friday.  — Rouchelle Dinglasan/KBK, GMA News