After a stint of six years and a half in Dhaka, the Ambassador of the Philippines Vicente Vivencio T Bandillo is returning to the Headquarters at the end of this month.
Today, he paid a farewell call on Foreign Minister Dr. A K Abdul Momen, at the State Guest House Padma. At the meeting Forign Minister sought Philippines’ support on voluntary and sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas and recovery of Bangladesh Bank money lost in a cyber heist in February 2016.
Dr. Momen thanked the Government of the Philippines for all out support to the Government of Bangladesh in getting back $15 million of the $81 million stolen by the hackers and expressed the hope that the Filipino Government would continue support till the remainder of the money is recovered. Ambassador Bandillo assured full support to Bangladesh Bank on the money recovery issue and said that his government has initiated some measures to combat money laundering which is a huge national problem.
Foreign Minister noted that the Philippines enjoys close ties with Myanmar that the latter should leverage its influence to resolve the Rohingya crisis. He said that to allay the fear of the Rohingyas Bangladesh has long been proposing formation of an ASEAN led non-military civilian observer group but Myanmar has not been coming forward positively to implement this proposal. He cautioned that if the Rohingya issue is not resolved immediately, radical elements can take advantage of the displacement and regional and international security would certainly be jeopardized. Dr. Momen requested Philippines to exert political pressure on Myanmar together with all ASEAN members to take back the Rohingyas.
Terming the Philippines as a global leader in the services sector particularly nursing, marine engineering and seafaring, Foreign Minister said that Bangladesh is keen to sign the pending MoU on nursing education with the Philippines as early as possible and initiate exchange programmes of student and staff nurses between the two countries. The Ambassador assured the Minister to do the needful for completing the MoU soon.
Pointing out that there is a huge scope of Filipino investment in the agro-processing sector, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister suggested that Filipino franchise Jollibee and Potato Corner can open outlets in Bangladesh.