Japan, Phl sign security, economic deals

, 27 Oct. 2016

President Rodrigo Duterte and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday signed agreements to acquire vessels and training aircraft for the Philippines.

After their expanded bilateral meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, Duterte and Abe witnessed their secretaries and ministers sign documents for the acquisition of patrol vessels and other equipment for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and TC-90 training aircraft which will enhance the country’s security.

A Memorandum of Implementation and Letter of Arrangement for the transfer of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)’s training aircraft TC-90s were also signed. The training aircraft will likely remain a key player in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Before issuing their joint statements, the two leaders witnessed the signing of the Exchange of Notes on Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan for the two large-scale patrol vessels for the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte said he expected Japan to continue playing an important role in maritime security in the region, including the South China Sea, where Manila has territorial disputes with Beijing.

Japan also intend to provide the Philippines with high-speed boats and other equipment as part of counter-terrorism measures. Japan also agreed to support infrastructure and agricultural promotion projects in the Philippines to help economic development.

The economic agreement signed is called HARVEST (Harnessing Agri-business Opportunity through Robust Environment Supportive of Entrepreneurship Transformation) loan, a credit facility that seeks to promote agriculture development particularly in Mindanao. It is under the umbrella of the J-BIRD II program being implemented under the JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). PND