29 Jan 2016

President Aquino joins reception for visiting Japanese Imperial Couple
President Benigno S. Aquino III joined other government officials in a reception hosted by Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa for Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

The President, accompanied by presidential sister Pinky Aquino-Abellada, arrived at Ambassador Ishikawa’s official residence in North Forbes Park in Makati City at about 7 p.m. on Thursday.

The emperor and the empress exchanged pleasantries with the officials, then had a chat with the President in a private room.

Other officials who attended Thursday’s event were Senate President Franklin Drilon, House of Representatives Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., former president Fidel Ramos, Senator Pia Cayetano, and former senator Edgardo Angara.

The members of the Cabinet present were Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, and Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad. PND (as)

Japanese Imperial Couple visits TESDA Language Skills Institute in Taguig
Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) Language Training Center in Taguig City on Thursday to see how Nihongo is being taught to Filipino nurses and caregivers applying for work in Japan.

The Imperial couple arrived at the Language Skills Institute (LSI) and was met by a reception party led by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and acting TESDA Director General Irene Isaac.

Their Majesties were supposed to visit TESDA’s Women’s Center but later on wanted to see how Nihongo is taught in TESDA.

The emperor had shown interest in going to LSI after he visited a hospital in Japan in 2012 where he met Filipino nurses who speak Nihongo fluently.

Aside from touring the TESDA facility, Their Majesties also observed a Nihongo class and had an interaction with students. They asked the students why they want to go to Japan and also mentioned how cold it is in Japan.

The Nihongo language training in TESDA was organized through the Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), which aims to train Filipino nurses and caregivers who wants to go to Japan.

According to Atty. Teodoro Pascua, TESDA’s technical skills education and development operations deputy director general, the Department of Labor and Employment and TESDA provided the facility and the Japan Foundation gave the pool of instructors to the LSI.

Under JPEPA, applicants for health care jobs in Japan must undergo language training six months prior to their departure. Once they pass the qualifying examination in Japan, they have to undergo another six-month training in Japan. PND (as)

Japanese Imperial couple honors Japanese war dead in Caliraya
(CALIRAYA, Laguna) Visiting Japanese Imperial couple, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, paid their respects to Japanese casualties of World War II at the Japanese Memorial Garden here on Friday.

The 82-year-old emperor and his 81-year-old wife arrived at the memorial park, built by the Japanese government in the 1970s, at 11:45 a.m.

Upon arrival, they offered flowers and a mournful bow at the monument dedicated to Japanese soldiers who died during the Second World War.

Despite a slight drizzle, Their Majesties patiently talked to some 125 families of the fallen Japanese troops who attended the event.

The families appeared relieved as they spoke with the royal couple, who seemed to show deep sorrow and remorse for the suffering caused by the war.

Among those present were two World War II survivors — Minoru Matsumoto and Yoshikazu Morita.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa was also present, leading the Japanese delegation.

The solemn event lasted about 30 minutes.

From Caliraya, the Imperial couple proceeded to Los Baños to visit the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Their tour at IRRI will cap their five-day official visit to the Philippines. They are scheduled to return to Japan on Saturday morning. President Benigno S. Aquino III is expected to lead the send-off for Their Majesties.

The two arrived last Tuesday to mark the 60th anniversary of Philippine-Japanese diplomatic relations, as well as honor Japanese and non-Japanese who died during the war.

Last Wednesday, they led a wreath-laying ceremony at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) in Taguig, built in 1947 to honor Filipino soldiers who died during the war.

This is the second visit of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to the country. The first was in 1962 when they were still Crown Prince and Crown Princess. PND (jb)

Imperial couple’s visit strengthens Philippine-Japanese relations, says Palace
The five-day state visit of Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to the country has further deepened the 60-year diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Japan, a Malacañang official said on Friday.Citing the significance of the Imperial couple’s visit, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have become exemplary role models of humility and advocates of strengthening relations between the two nations.

“Ang pagdalaw dito nina Emperor Akihito at Empress Michiko ay higit pang nagpatibay sa anim na dekadang diplomatic relations ng Pilipinas at Japan, lalong naging matatag ang ating people-to-people friendship and cooperation, at talaga namang ang Imperial Majesties—Emperor and Empress of Japan—ay nagsilbing exemplars or role models sa pagiging mapagkumbaba at sa pagiging tagapagtaguyod ng pagkakaibigan at kooperasyon sa pagitan ng Japan at ng Pilipinas,” Secretary Coloma said.

The state visit of The Emperor and Empress of Japan to the country marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Japan.

“Sila ang simbolo ng Japanese nation and people; dala nila ang tremendous goodwill at ang pagnanasa ng kanilang bansa na gawing mas matibay pa ang umiiral na pagkakaibigan at kooperasyon sa pagitan ng dalawang bansa,” Coloma said.

The Palace official said Japan is the country’s top trading partner and a major source of official development assistance.

He said Japan has also been the Philippine government’s partner in infrastructure development, as well as in promoting lasting peace and prosperity in Mindanao.

“Hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay patuloy silang tumutulong sa mahalagang proyekto nating pang-imprastruktura at sa pagtatamo ng kapayapaan,” Coloma said.

“Kaya’t sa lahat ng larangan, ang Japan ay talagang tumitindig bilang strategic partner at ang pagdalaw ng kanilang Emperor at Empress ay nagpatibay at nagpatatag pa nang higit sa relasyon ng dalawang bansa,” he added.

The Emperor and Empress of Japan are in Manila for a five-day state visit at the invitation of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

They attended events in Manila on January 27 and January 28, which included a meeting with President Aquino in Malacañang Palace, and visited Caliraya and Los Baños in Laguna on January 29.

The Emperor and Empress are scheduled to return to Japan on Saturday. PND (co)

Next President won’t go ‘back to zero’ in bringing peace to Mindanao—Palace
Malacañang does not envision a ‘back to zero’ scenario for the successor of President Benigno S. Aquino III who will be tasked apparently to come up with fresh ways to bring lasting peace in Mindanao should the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) fail to make it in the 16th Congress.Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office made this comment Friday amid reports on the perceived waning chances of BBL being ratified by both the House of Representatives and the Senate before President Aquino steps down in June.

“Sa aking palagay mahirap nang sabihin pa ‘yung ‘back to zero’ dahil napakalayo na ng narating (natin), at sinuman ang magiging susunod na Pangulo ay tiyak na kikilalanin niya na malaking progreso na ang natamo rito at hindi na magiging makatuwiran na [umatras] pa tayo,” Secretary Coloma told reporters in an interview.

The Palace official thinks it is incumbent upon the next administration to continue what President Aquino started and capitalize on the ‘momentum for peace,’ which the proposed legislation managed to build over the years.

“Dapat lang ay isulong at ipagpatuloy ang naumpisahan na para maging ganap ang pagtamo ng mga layunin ng prosesong pangkapayapaan,” Secretary Coloma said.

He emphasized that even if the fate of the BBL is out of President Aquino’s hands, it is important for people to keep the wheels of the peace process running, especially since it has gained tremendous support not only from its stakeholders but also from other sectors of society.

“Kung ano man ang pinal na kahihinatnan ng panukalang Bangsamoro Basic Law, hindi natitinag ang determinasyon ni Pangulong Aquino na itaguyod ang prosesong pangkapayapaan, at patuloy pa rin ang paghimok sa lahat ng sektor ng ating lipunan at sa lahat ng mga stakeholders to give peace a chance,” Secretary Coloma said. PND (hdc)