State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi held a video conference yesterday from the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw with authorities who were overseeing the repatriation of Myanmar citizens from Thailand through the Myawady border checkpoint in Kayin State.
The following persons participated in the discussions — Kayin State Hluttaw Representative U Thant Zin Aung, Head of General Administrative Department in Myawady District U Tay Zar Aung and Daw Khin Ohnmar Myint, a teacher who was helping out in data collection.
After words of greetings by the State Counsellor, U Thant Zin Aung discussed the repatriation process of Myanmar migrant workers from Thailand, arrangements for sending them back to their home towns, screening them in line with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Sports, distribution of healthcare items for COVID-19, awareness programmes, the conduct of awareness and public education programmes, systematic information dissemination, food and living situation of the returnees and their adherence to rules and regulations, and measures undertaken to encourage public participation.
Daw Khin Ohnmar Myint briefed about how she had participated in collecting data of the returnees; ensuring correct data collection during the transportation process on their return journey to their home towns and difficulties encountered.
U Tay Zar Aung explained how the Myanmar migrant workers were given a warm welcome; how they were systematically transported back to the respective home towns; and arrangements made for providing them with meals and temporary accommodation in coordination with relevant departments and organizations.
In her response, the State Counsellor explained that the Union Government wanted to make sure that “no one was left behind” in implementing the repatriation programme and transporting the returnees back to their home towns in a systematic manner. She added that a major challenge of COVID-19 was the great importance for physical distancing while being close at the spiritual level; and that at the present moment, success could be achieved only with the participation of everyone.
She continued by saying that this challenge could be overcome only by mutual understanding and sympathy; at this time, human nature could not be neglected; it was not easy to impose strict restrictions for a long time; as the situation improved, it was necessary to consider easing of restrictions; if the situation did not turn out as planned, it might be necessary to roll back some restrictions.
The State Counsellor added that education should not be neglected, and that plans were underway to start reopening schools in July for the high school levels. However, the government has been continuously considering whether it would be possible or not to reopen schools in early July.
Efforts must be made to achieve progress slowly in fighting against COVID-19; prevention and recovery from this disease were concerned with the medical science; as Myanmar was not a top-class country in the field of medical science, other developed countries were in the process of seeking for cures and vaccines; although Myanmar did not have power which comes from science or development, she would have to rely on the united strength of the people; if the people acted in unity, it would be possible to control the situation; if the situation could be controlled, it would be possible to overcome the difficulties; that was why in meeting the challenge of COVID-19, cooperation was the key.
In her concluding remarks, the State Counsellor expressed thanks to all the people in Kayin State as its government and locals were mainly responsible for accepting the migrant workers through the border crossing; coordination of all the stakeholders has made the repatriation programme successful; despite some concerns in the initial stage, the manner in which cooperation was achieved deserved great respect and thanks. Finally, she said she wanted to thank all officials in the government and administration sectors, volunteers and common people. She added that she believed the COVID-19 challenge could be overcome if the present momentum could be maintained. She ended by praying and sending “metta” for the good health and well-being of everyone.