DAVAO CITY ─ President Rodrigo Duterte arrived here on Tuesday, October 31, from his Official Visit to Japan, describing it as “most productive and engaging.”
In his arrival statement, President Duterte said that he met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and discussed concrete, time-bound and specific ways to further intensify bilateral cooperation between Philippines and Japan.
“On top of our agenda is vital support for the centerpiece projects under the Philippines’ Build, Build, Build program,” President Duterte said.
The said program will cover a significant impact social infrastructure projects that the Philippines need to sustain economic growth and improve the quality of life of the Filipino people.
The Chief Executive added that more projects would be rolled off under Japan’s trillion yen or close to nine billion US dollars pledge of assistance.
He said that the Japanese Prime Minister has committed to “give flesh” to Japan’s special assistance program.
“I am committed to [working] closely with him to ensure that projects proceed soonest and it will be Done, Done, Done,” President Duterte said.
According to President Duterte, Philippines and Japan will intensify defense and security cooperation to combat terrorism, violent extremism and transnational crimes.
“We will strive to make our waters free and open to our peoples so that they can enjoy our rich natural maritime resources,” President Duterte said.
The President also thanked Japan for reaffirming its commitment to the Philippines’ pursuit of a just and lasting peace in Mindanao.
He said Japan would be the nation’s partner in rebuilding Marawi as “the center of moderation and tolerance.”
President Duterte also mentioned that he and the Japanese Prime Minister discussed the perils of a nuclear war and other incidentals, particularly on the miscalculation of the atomic threat to any of the neighboring countries, notably China, South Korea and the peripheral neighboring nations.
He also said that the industry leaders in Tokyo signed business agreements valued at six billion dollars, more than thrice the amount sealed business agreements during his first visit to Japan in 2016.
“We encouraged Japan to explore more opportunities to invest in the Philippines, including in steel manufacturing, agribusiness and IT and creative services,” he added.
President Duterte also said he looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Abe and other leaders to the Philippines in the upcoming 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.
Meanwhile, the President said that he was humbled by the singular honor of meeting with Emperor Akihito in Tokyo and conveyed the Philippines’ deep appreciation, gratitude for Japan’s continuing friendship and support for the peace and development goals of the country.
“We want our relations with Japan to grow even more. Japan is our friend closer than a brother; Japan treats us as a sovereign equal,” he said, adding that the Philippines would work with Japan in building the “golden age” for the strategic partnership.###PND