Ja­pan of­fers ¥1 tril­lion to PH

Deals on mar­itime se­cu­rity, in­fra dev’t, agri­cul­ture signed

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By GENALYN D. KABILING

Ja­pan has of­fered a one tril­lion yen aid pack­age to the Philip­pines in the next five years to pro­mote eco­nomic and in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment.

Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe of Ja­pan an­nounced the large fi­nan­cial aid pack­age af­ter hold­ing sum­mit talks with Pres­i­dent Duterte in Mala­cañang.

Duterte and Abe later wit­nessed the sign­ing of agree­ments to fur­ther en­hance co­op­er­a­tion on mar­itime se­cu­rity, in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment, and agri­cul­ture.

Closer than brother At the state ban­quet in

honor of vis­it­ing Ja­panese leader and his del­e­ga­tion in Mala­cañang, Duterte said the Philip­pines con­sid­ers Ja­pan “a friend closer than a brother” as both na­tions are com­mit­ted to el­e­vate their “tried and tested friend­ship” to greater heights.

He said the Philip­pines and Ja­pan are “friends who treat each other with mu­tual re­spect and trust.” They are also bound by a shared com­mon re­solve to up­hold democ­racy, ad­her­ence to the rule of law and a peace­ful set­tle­ment of dis­putes.

“We are friends who con­stantly seek to in­vig­o­rate re­la­tions through co­op­er­a­tion,” Duterte said.

“Ours is a spe­cial friend­ship whose value is be­yond any mea­sure. As coun­tries and peo­ples that have a shared and mean­ing­ful his­tory, we can look for­ward with con­fi­dence to a brighter fu­ture filled with ever-ex­pand­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for work­ing to­gether,” he added.

The Prime Min­is­ter, for his part, agreed that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Philip­pines and Ja­pan is “deep, warm, and broth­erly or fam­ily-like re­la­tion­ship.”

Abe, ac­com­pa­nied by his wife Akie, Cabi­net min­is­ters, and busi­ness del­e­ga­tion, ar­rived in Manila for a two-day of­fi­cial visit that in­cludes a stopover in Davao City to­day.

He is the first head of state to visit the Philip­pines since Duterte as­sumed of­fice last June. His visit comes amid Manila’s ef­forts to boost ties with China and lessen re­liance on Tokyo’s tra­di­tional ally the United States.

Busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties “For the fur­ther devel­op­ment of the Philip­pines, we will cre­ate busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties through ODA (of­fi­cial devel­op­ment as­sis­tance) and pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ments which to­gether will be of the or­der of 1 tril­lion yen over the next five years,” Abe said in his re­marks.

A com­mit­tee from both coun­tries will be es­tab­lished to pro­mote eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and im­ple­ment in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ments in the Philip­pines, ac­cord­ing to Abe.

He said Ja­pan is ready to pro­vide tech­nol­ogy and know-how “to the fullest ex­tent” for the im­prove­ment of in­fra­struc­ture in Metro Manila and the rest of the Philip­pines.

Ja­pan is also com­mit­ted to con­tinue pro­vid­ing sup­port for the peace and devel­op­ment in Min­danao. “A de­ci­sion has been taken to start stud­ies for the ur­ban devel­op­ment and flood con­trol of Davao City,” he added.

Abe also as­sured that Ja­pan is will­ing to as­sist the Duterte govern­ment in car­ry­ing out drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ef­forts.

“On coun­ter­ing il­le­gal drugs, we want to work to­gether with the Philip­pines through rel­e­vant mea­sures of sup­port,” Abe said, adding he will en­cour­age Ja­panese pri­vate sec­tor to as­sist in the im­prove­ment of drug treat­ment fa­cil­i­ties, for­mu­la­tion of treat­ment pro­grams and other ar­eas.

Se­cu­rity mea­sures

As both mar­itime na­tions, Abe said Ja­pan will also en­hance sup­port for ca­pac­ity-build­ing of the Philip­pines in the field of mar­itime se­cu­rity.

Abe also wel­comed the sign­ing of ex­change of notes on the pro­vi­sion of high speed pa­trol boats as a part of mea­sures of se­cu­rity and coun­tert­er­ror­ism. “We will strengthen co­op­er­a­tion in the area of coun­tert­er­ror­ism in or­der to re­al­ize a so­ci­ety where it is pos­si­ble for youths to en­ter­tain hopes,” he said.

Abe is in Manila to shore up eco­nomic and se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion with the Philip­pines.

“As proven de­fense and long-time part­ners, the Philip­pines and Ja­pan are com­mit­ted to fur­ther ex­pand and deepen our re­la­tions across a broad range of ar­eas,” Pres­i­dent Duterte said in a joint press con­fer­ence with Abe at the Palace.

Eco­nomic, so­cial grant

The two lead­ers first wit­nessed the ex­change of notes on the grant of eco­nomic and so­cial de­ploy­ment pro­gram. It in­volves Ja­pan’s 600 mil­lion yen grant for high-speed pa­trol boats and other counter-ter­ror­ism equip­ment for the Philip­pine Coast Guard.

Duterte said they agreed to boost mar­itime and se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion, say­ing both na­tions have a shared in­ter­est in keep­ing their wa­ters safe and se­cure from threats of any kind.

He said ca­pac­ity-build­ing and as­sets ac­qui­si­tion and up­grad­ing will be a cen­ter­piece of this col­lab­o­ra­tion on se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion. “We hope to fast­track the de­liv­ery of the Philip­pine of key as­sets al­ready in the pipe­line and the ac­qui­si­tion of new ones,” he said.

The two coun­tries also ex­changed a me­moran­dum of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween their coast guards. The agree­ment in­volves mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion to pro­mote mar­itime safety, se­cu­rity and ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment pro­tec­tion.

“As we seek these new in­no­va­tions to the Philip­pines’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties, we will con­tinue to forge ahead with our ef­forts to ad­vance the rule of law in or­der to se­cure the wa­ters in our re­gions,” the Pres­i­dent said.

An­other me­moran­dum of co­op­er­a­tion was forged to pro­mote low car­bon growth by es­tab­lish­ing a joint cred­it­ing mech­a­nism. Un­der the ac­cord, the Philip­pines and Ja­pan will pro­mote in­vest­ments and the use of tech­nolo­gies, prod­uct sys­tems ser­vices and in­fra­struc­ture to achieve low car­bon growth in the Philip­pines.

The Philip­pine Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Op­er­a­tions Of­fice and the Min­istry of In­ter­nal Af­fairs and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion of the Govern­ment of Ja­pan also ex­changed a me­moran­dum of co­op­er­a­tion for the proof of con­cept and test­ing of road traf­fic in­for­ma­tion sys­tem through data broad­cast­ing.

Also inked was the loan agree­ment and guar­an­tee let­ter for Har­ness­ing Agribusi­ness Op­por­tu­ni­ties through Ro­bust and Vi­brant En­trepreneur­ship Sup­port­ive of Peace­ful Trans­for­ma­tion. The five-year project of the Land Bank of the Philip­pines in­volves fi­nanc­ing el­i­gi­ble in­vest­ments of agribusi­ness en­ter­prises farm­ers’ or­ga­ni­za­tions.

War on drugs

In the sum­mit meet­ing, Duterte said he and Abe have also agreed to work to­gether in purs­ing “a com­pre­hen­sive ap­proach” in the war on il­le­gal drugs trade.

“As the Philip­pines pur­sues its cam­paign to de­stroy il­le­gal drugs trade ap­pa­ra­tus, we wel­come the ex­pressed in­ter­est of Ja­pan to sup­port mea­sures to ad­dress the tremen­dous so­cial cause of drug ad­dic­tion, this in­cludes re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion,” Duterte said.

The two lead­ers also agreed to ramp up ef­forts to bring just and last­ing peace and devel­op­ment in Min­danao. Duterte re­it­er­ated his grat­i­tude to Ja­pan for its con­tin­ued sup­port for Min­danao.

“Ja­pan is a proven part­ner for peace in Min­danao and it will con­tinue to be one. For Ja­pan’s demon­strated and sus­tained sup­port to bring peace to our peo­ple in Min­danao, we are grate­ful,” he said.

Apart from se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion, the two lead­ers also agreed to fur­ther strengthen eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries.

Duterte said both gov­ern­ments would seek new ar­eas of col­lab­o­ra­tion as well as to work on ful­fill­ing the agree­ments signed in Tokyo last year dur­ing his visit.

“As part of those ef­forts, we are en­cour­ag­ing our busi­ness sec­tors to in­ten­sify two-way trade and in­vest­ments. In fact, later to­day and in Davao, Prime Min­is­ter Abe and I will meet with the key busi­ness lead­ers,” Duterte said.

(Richard Viñas)

WARM WEL­COME – Pres­i­dent Duterte and Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe shake hands af­ter the wel­com­ing cer­e­monies for the Ja­panese leader in Mala­cañang Thurs­day. The two are ex­pected to dis­cuss mu­tu­ally im­por­tant con­cerns, in­clud­ing the sen­si­tive is­sue in­volv­ing the South China Sea.

(Richard Viñas)

ABE VISIT – Pres­i­dent Duterte and Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe troop the line dur­ing wel­come cer­e­monies for the Ja­panese leader in Mala­cañang Thurs­day. The two lead­ers are ex­pected to dis­cuss mu­tu­ally im­por­tant con­cerns, in­clud­ing the sen­si­tive is­sue in­volv­ing the South China Sea.

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