Japan vows fresh commitment of 25 billion yen to Philippines: Duterte
Japan has vowed fresh commitment of 25 billion yen to the Philippines to fund some projects and programs, including the Mindanao's road network, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday.
In his statement during the joint press event with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after their bilateral meeting in Tokyo, Duterte said he and his Japanese counterpart had the opportunity to ensure that the ties between the two countries would continue to grow "from strength to greater strength."
"I am grateful for Japan's fresh commitment of around 25 billion yen for the development of Mindanao's road network, vocational training facilities and equipment, and other projects," he said.
Duterte said they also discussed modalities for greater cooperation in upgrading the Philippines' defense capabilities, including in maritime security and maritime domain awareness.
The meeting of the two leaders was their seventh since Duterte assumed office in 2016.
Duterte said they also explored opportunities to tap demographic complementarity to drive growth of the two economies, including the possibility of Japan opening its doors to foreign skilled workers.
Duterte, on behalf of the Filipino people, also expressed the deepest respect and appreciation to Emperor Emeritus Akihito.
"Emperor Emeritus Akihito’s reign was defined by amity with all nations and peoples. For the Philippines, in particular, that legacy is that of a meaningful friendship with special significance," he said.
"With the accession of His Majesty Emperor Naruhito, there is renewed confidence that Japan’s ties with the Philippines ? and indeed with the rest of the world ? will be characterized by beautiful harmony," Duterte added.
For his part, Abe pledged Japan's strengthened support to Mindanao peace process and on the Philippine "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program.
He also welcomed Manila's decision to lift the import suspension of fishery products from Fukushima prefecture prior to Duterte's visit to Japan.
The Philippines banned some fish products from Fukushima after the meltdown of a power plant in 2011.
"Safety of agriculture, forestry and fishery products of Fukushima is ensured through thorough inspections and other measures. Our government will continue to make outmost efforts to push for relaxation or removal of import restrictions imposed by some countries and wipe out the hurtful rumors," Abe said.
The Japanese leader also congratulated Duterte to the "overwhelming victory" of the administration candidates in the recent midterm elections.
"The result is a manifestation of the tremendous support shown to the President’s track record during the past three years. And the government of Japan will continue our strong support for projects actively being promoted by the President such as the peace process in Mindanao and infrastructure development," he said.
He said he and Duterte confirmed their plans "to strengthen our partnership as we confront such challenges as the realization of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific based on the rule of law, full implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions towards the denuclearization of North Korea and early resolution of the abduction issue." Celerina Monte/DMS