Press Release
February 12, 2012

Support Myanmar Reforms--Legarda

Senator Loren Legarda welcomed the "new roadmap" in Philippine-Myanmar relations, and said the continuing reforms in Myanmar deserve nothing less than the country's full encouragement and support.

In December last year, Senator Legarda called for "support to the constructive reform efforts in Myanmar". Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, was the first Philippine official who visited Daw Aung San Suu Kyi after she was released from house arrest in November 2010.

"Myanmar has taken great strides in its reform process and we cannot just be an observer to its reform process. We need to support this process," Legarda said. She said that the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint calls for heightened interactions toward fulfilling the fundamental freedoms as inscribed in the ASEAN Charter. "Cooperation in political development is a key element of that blueprint toward the realization of maturity in the political elements and institutions in ASEAN," she added.

The Senator also welcomed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's participation in the political process as one of the candidates in the by-elections that will take place on April 1, 2012. "This is an extremely important development. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's participation in the upcoming elections signals renewed confidence and it opens up possibilities for her to be in a position to further drive the reform forward," the Senator said.

The April elections will cover 48 parliamentary seats vacated by lawmakers who were appointed to the Cabinet and other posts last year.

"The Philippine Senate is ready to extend its support to Myanmar's reform process through closer interaction and exchanges with its parliament when the opportunity arises. Senate President Enrile has already approved my proposal in this regard, and as such, we keenly await the results of the April elections," Legarda said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario met with President U Thein Sein and held discussions with Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin last week. It was agreed by the two foreign ministers to convene the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) on June 2 to 3, 2012 for consultations on a wide range of cooperation matters, as well as regional and international issues.

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