'Human rights violations not raised during Duterte, Suu Kyi meeting'


Posted at Mar 21 2017 01:25 PM

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends a state dinner with Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw, Myanmar March 20, 2017. Pyay Kyaw Aung, Reuters

Human rights abuses in the Philippines and Myanmar were not brought up during President Rodrigo Duterte's meeting with Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Trade secretary Ramon Lopez said Tuesday.

"Those things were not discussed... It's not an all an issue to us," Lopez said in an interview on ANC.

"We focused on opportunities and reforms so these are all non issues," he added.

The meeting was highly anticipated, since Duterte was beset by allegations of human rights violations over war on drugs, while Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s state counselor, has been criticized for her silence on the violence in the Rakhine state between the minority Rohingya Muslims and Buddhist locals.

During his 2-day official visit, Duterte gave $300,000 (P15,000,000) to the Myanmar government for the humanitarian efforts in Rakhine.

Lopez said the alleged human rights violations and insurgencies in both countries have not discouraged the business sector from maintaining strong trade and economic ties between Manila and Naypyidaw.

"Myanmar is a fast growing market... They are establishing new urban areas... We have Filipino companies expanding operations there for example Oishi, Unilab, URC, and Cherry Mobile," he said.