05 June 2015

APEC News Release

President Aquino, Prime Minister Abe renew commitment to peace and security
(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III said Thursday he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to cooperate further to ensure regional, as well as global, security.”We reviewed the security challenges that confront both our nations, and pledged to cooperate in advancing our shared advocacy for members of the international community to act responsibly,” President Aquino said in his message during the summit meeting with Prime Minister Abe, held at the Akasaka State Guest House here.

“We believe this can be done through finding just and peaceful solutions to our territorial disputes and maritime concerns by upholding the rule of law, towards creating a secure and stable environment that serves as the bedrock of our collective progress.”
After 59 years of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Japan, the President said both countries see a bond that transcends diplomacy.

Through their sustained efforts, the Philippines and Japan can continue nurturing their Strategic Partnership and friendship that draws strength from shared values, common goals, and mutual respect, he said.

He noted that aside from their strategic alliance, the two countries have agreed to further strengthen their economic relations.

Japan remains the Philippines’ largest bilateral trading partner, and a leading source of investment.

As the Philippines focuses on infrastructure development, the President said, Japan’s Official Development Assistance will be a vital component to achieve this goal.

The two countries also agreed to work together to enhance their tourism sectors.

The President also announced the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation for Health Care between the Department of Health and Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

This memorandum will enable both countries to share knowledge on social health insurance, public hospital management, advanced technology, disaster preparedness, and human resources development.

President Aquino further expressed his gratitude to Japan for its role in the Bangsamoro peace process.

The summit meeting between the Chief Executive and his Japanese counterpart was one of the highlights of President Aquino’s ongoing four-day state visit to Japan. PND (as)

Transportation Department, Japanese shipbuilder sign agreement to boost Coast Guard’s capability
(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday witnessed the signing of the agreement on the cooperation between the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Japan Marine United Corp. (JMU) for the construction of 10 multi-role response vessels (MRRV) for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The Marine Safety Capability Improvement Project, which costs more than US$100 million, will be financed by Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), through the Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP).

The JMU will provide the PCG 10 units of 40-meter class MRRVs and special spare parts.

The vessels, to be used by the PCG to monitor the country’s coastlines, will be delivered in succession starting end of August next year.

The project aims to improve the PCG’s capability for quick and appropriate response to maritime incidents, such as search and rescue efforts and maritime law enforcement.

The JMU said it will utilize its rich construction experience that typified the vessels for the Japan Coast Guard and will actively engage worldwide ODA projects by the Japanese government to contribute to international cooperation.

Marubeni, the Japanese company that facilitated the deal, said it hopes to contribute to the development of bilateral relations between Japan and Philippines through the project.

According to JMU’s briefer, the vessels, to be built at its Yokohama shipyard, have an overall length of 44 meters, a width of 7.5 meters, and a depth of 4 meters.

The vessels have a standard cruising speed of 15 knots and are classified as Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (Class NK). Each vessel will be manned by five officers and 20 crewmen.

Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya signed for the Philippine government, while JMU President Shinjiro Mishima signed for the Japanese company. PND (as)

President Aquino says he and Prime Minister Abe have challenged the status quo
(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III said Thursday he shares the same experience as his Japanese counterpart in terms of challenging the status quo for the welfare of his people.

In his speech during the state banquet hosted for him by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Akasaka State Guest House here, the President recalled the time when he was to run for the presidency in 2010.

He suggested then that if elected, his task would be to “lead his people towards greater heights by battling the status quo and curing the infirmities it represents”.

“Our responsibility would be to seek the improvement of our people’s lot in life. In the Philippines, we have worked to transform our society, living by the principle that inclusive growth is the end-all and be-all of our efforts,” he said.

“For this reason, we pursued widespread reform, even if this entailed rattling the rice bowls and upsetting the comfortable conditions of those who benefited from the old and broken systems.”

President Aquino noted that Prime Minister Abe returned to his office with the same commitment to do right by his people, even if it meant disrupting the status quo.

As a leader, Prime Minister Abe has faced and continues to face so many complex challenges — from the threat of pandemics, to global climate change, to tensions and instabilities emerging in various parts of the world, the President said.

“He knows full well what must be undertaken in order to effectively serve his people, and the boldness of his leadership has inspired even greater trust and confidence in what we can achieve as partners on the path to equitable progress,” he noted.

The President commended Japan for being a dependable partner to the Filipino people, despite the challenges it has been facing.

The two countries’ solidarity, he said, is exemplified by the immediate assistance extended to each other in times of natural calamities.

He acknowledged that Japan is the Philippines’ biggest country contributor of official development assistance; that it shares its expertise in economic and infrastructure development; and that it helps strengthen the country’s people-to-people interactions through education and youth exchange programs.

“Japan has been steadfast in its commitment to fostering a relationship where we are seen as an equal,” the President added.

During their summit meeting earlier, the two leaders renewed their commitment to regional and global peace, and agreed to work together to develop their respective economies and strengthen their collaboration on health care, infrastructure and tourism.

President Aquino’s meeting with Prime Minister Abe was one of the highlights of his ongoing four-day state visit to Japan. PND (as)

President Aquino acknowledges Filipino comfort women’s cry for justice
(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday acknowledged the relevance of the grievances that Filipino comfort women constantly air every time the world marks the end of the second global war.

“The experiences of the comfort women (are) part of our national history and shared story of our nation. This is one tragic incident. We, in the Philippines, should take care of our own,” he told members of the Philippine media delegation at the Imperial Hotel here.

President Aquino made the statement when asked about his thoughts amid reports there are elderly women, who are still seeking justice over the atrocities that Japanese soldiers had inflicted on them during World War II.

Sought for a statement on whether he considered it a matter worth bringing up with Japanese authorities at this point, given strong diplomatic ties between Manila and Tokyo, the President said he is aware that Japan has already apologized.

“The records that are available to me, and I understand, Japan has apologized for such incidents in the past—specifically, the Kono Statement of 1993; Murayama Statement of 1995; 2002 letter of then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Filipino comfort women,” he said.

President Aquino added that he was told by former foreign affairs secretary Domingo Siazon that apologies and statements of remorse to Filipino comfort women had already been covered in previous negotiations for reparations and agreements between Japan and the Philippines, prior to his administration.

“The first time I heard about this (was) when I was still a congressman. Siazon was telling me that this has already been explained to them so many times. The agreements that were entered into, way before I entered public service, are supposed to have settled this matter between our countries,” he said.

He said that on his return to the country, he will seek updates on the efforts made by the government to address the concerns of comfort women to try and help them recover from their traumatic experiences.

President Aquino is here for a four-day state visit aimed at enhancing the strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines, which have become steadfast allies 59 years after the end of the war.

The President also pointed out that no less than His Majesty Emperor Akihito issued the latest apology during his remarks at the state banquet he hosted Wednesday evening at the Imperial Palace.

“During World War II, however, fierce battles between Japan and the United States took place on Philippine soil, resulting in the loss of many Filipino lives. This is something we Japanese must long remember with a profound sense of remorse,” Emperor Akihito’s statement went.

“In particular, in this year of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, I offer my deepest condolences to all those who lost their lives then,” the Emperor added.

President Aquino likewise noted that every Japanese ambassador assigned to the Philippines had never failed to issue public apologies during the commemoration of the country’s ‘Day of Valor’, held on April 9 every year in Mount Samat in Bataan.

“It is a constant practice for them to express remorse and apologies for what transpired during the war and that is a yearly event. And, honestly, especially for those who were not even born—there are ambassadors who were not even born in that period—I try to put myself also in their position of having to continuously apologize for or express remorse for the things that happened at a point in time when they weren’t even there but are taking cognizance and responsibility for it,” he said.

President Aquino noted that nonetheless, it is important for the country to remember the past if it is to chart its course towards the future, as reminded by Spanish writer George Santayana in one of his famous aphorisms, “those who forget the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat it.”

“When we remember and commemorate these tragedies that happened to all of us, wherein all countries who were involved—and, of course, practically every country was involved; it was a world war—it does remind us of the real cost of war. It tells us why it should be avoided with utmost dedication and determination… Keeping it in our consciousness helps us prevent the reoccurrence of such a tragedy,” the President said.

World War II took place from 1939 to 1945, and back then, the Philippines was caught in the crossfire of battles between Allied and Axis forces, where the United States and Japan participated on opposite sides of the fence. PND (hdc)

Japan shares Philippines’ serious concern over China’s reclamation activities in West Philippine Sea
(TOKYO, Japan) The Japanese government shares the Philippines’ serious concern over China’s ongoing massive reclamation activities in the disputed West Philippine Sea, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday, following his summit meeting with President Benigno S. Aquino III at the Akasaka State Guest House here. Prime Minister Abe said he and President Aquino had a “thorough discussion” on peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region amid China’s continuing aggression in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

“We once again confirm that we share serious concern about the large-scale land reclamation, and that we oppose any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo,” Prime Minister Abe said in his statement.

“We also agreed to thoroughly uphold the principle of the rule of law, and I once again conveyed our support for the utilization of the arbitration procedures by the Philippines,” he added.

The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to enhance further the strategic partnership between their countries with shared principles and goals.

“For the last 70 years after the war, through our relentless efforts, Japan and the Philippines have built an extremely friendly relationship. Today, we are strategic partners, contributing greatly to the peace and prosperity of the region,” Prime Minister Abe noted.

He mentioned that the Philippines and Japan agreed on the promotion of cooperation in defense equipment and technology, with the latter extending its assistance to further enhance the capacity of the Philippine Coast Guard.

The Prime Minister, meanwhile, reiterated his government’s full support for President Aquino’s efforts in promoting peace in Mindanao.

The two leaders also agreed on a roadmap to support the fast-growing Philippine economy through the development of transport infrastructure in the metropolitan Manila area, as part of the partnership for quality infrastructure that Prime Minister Abe announced last month.

“We will steadily work on our cooperation, including the P300-billion scale North/South commuter rail project,” the Prime Minister said.

On a personal note, Prime Minister Abe said he was “greatly impressed” by President Aquino’s speech at the National Diet last Wednesday, in which the visiting leader spoke very highly of the Japanese spirit.

“I am truly grateful for the kind support the President expressed for the path that Japan has followed as a peace-loving nation, for our policy of being a proactive contributor to peace and our legislation for peace and security, and for our various reform initiatives, including the growth strategy,” he said.

The Philippines and Japan will mark the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relations next year, and both leaders have said that they are looking forward to deepening these relations further to contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region and the international community. PND (hdc)

President Aquino signs Executive Order creating Negros Island Region
President Benigno S. Aquino III has issued Executive Order 183 creating a Negros Island Region (NIR), comprising of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental.

The President signed the Order last May 29 “to further accelerate the social and economic development of the cities and municipalities comprising the provinces of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental and improve the delivery of public services” in the two provinces.

The Order stated the formation of a NIR-Technical Working Group (NIR-TWG), composed of the Office of the President (OP), Department of Budget and Management, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and representatives of the two provinces.

The group will formulate a roadmap to put in place the institutional arrangements for the NIR by 2015-2016; recommend to the OP the preferred Regional Center; arrange the requirements for organizational development, staffing and budgeting of regional line and regulatory agencies, as well as the imperatives for development planning and investment programming.

The Regional Councils and the government agencies designated as their interim secretariats are Negros Island Development Council-NEDA; Negros Island Peace and Order Council-DILG; and Negros Island DRRM Council-Office of Civil Defense.

The Order stated that the funding for the NIR-TWG will come from the implementing agencies of the NIR-TWG and the two provinces, subject to the availability of funds and upon compliance with all applicable laws and budgetary, accounting, and auditing rules and regulations.

It also directed all departments, bureaus, offices, agencies and instrumentalities of the national government, including government-owned or -controlled corporations and government financial institutions, to extend the working group their full assistance. PND (jm)

Palace official calls on registered voters to submit biometrics data
A Palace official on Friday called on registered voters to submit their biometrics data to the Commission on Election (COMELEC) so they can vote in next year’s local and national polls.“We did hear from COMELEC that there are still a number of registered voters who have yet to do their biometrics. Umaapela na po kami, katulong po ng COMELEC,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during the daily press briefing in Malacañang.

Biometrics is an authentication method using the registrant’s picture, fingerprint, and signature recorded by a computer.

“Meron pa ho tayong mga ilang buwang natitira bago po dumating ang deadline ng COMELEC na October 31, 2015, para makapunta kayo sa COMELEC offices para magawa po ang mga biometrics ninyo,” she said.

Valte said she was informed by COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez that the commission’s offices in the National Capital Region will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Sunday to Friday.

“Let’s take advantage of the remaining time. Sana huwag po nating hintayin ang last week or last three days, or last two minutes bago po tayo pumunta sa COMELEC offices para makakuha ng biometrics. Sayang naman po ang inyong boto,” she said.

Republic Act 10367 states that voters who fail to submit for validation prior to the May 2016 elections shall be deactivated from the voters’ list and shall not be allowed to vote. PND (jm)

Philippines, Japan to cooperate in developing Metro Manila’s transport sector
(TOKYO, Japan) The Philippines and Japan have agreed to continue working together to implement the roadmap to build and develop Metro Manila’s transport sector.

In the Japan-Philippines Joint Declaration issued during their summit meeting on Thursday, President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to implement the “Cooperation Roadmap for Quality Infrastructure Development in the Transport Sector in Metropolitan Manila Area.”

The initiative will be subjected to regular programming exercises of both governments, depending on the financing requirements.

The two leaders recognized that the North-South Commuter Railway Project Phase 1, which costs 300 billion yen, has a symbolic significance to the two countries’ cooperation based on the “Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and its Surrounding Areas.”

President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe also made a commitment to cooperate for the entire project by positively utilizing Japan’s finance and technology based on the Partnership for Quality Infrastructure, initiated by the Japanese leader last month.

They also decided to accelerate their efforts to come up with details for the project.

Both the Philippines and Japan further agreed to cooperate in studying and conducting infrastructure development in other sectors and regions to improve the investment and business environment in the Philippines.

As part of the initiative, Japan has decided to extend assistance for the construction of the Davao City Bypass project, valued at 30 billion yen.

The Philippine government vowed to exert its best efforts for the smooth implementation of Japanese-assisted projects in the country. PND (as)

President Aquino bids farewell to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko
(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III bids farewell to Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Hotel here on Friday morning as the President capped his four-day state visit to Japan.

The President, who was accompanied by his delegation, and Their Majesties met at 10 a.m.

After meeting the emperor, the President proceeded to the Japan National Press Club headquarters, where he signed the guestbook and viewed the message of his mother, former president Corazon Aquino, who wrote it when she visited Japan on November 13, 1986.

President Aquino then delivered a speech and answered journalists’ questions during a press conference.

The Japan National Press Club was the President’s last stop before he departed for home on Friday afternoon.

He and his delegation left the Haneda International Airport here at about 2:50 p.m. on board Philippine Airlines Flight PR 001. PND (as)

President Aquino says he wants shift from personality-oriented to issue-oriented politics
(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Friday he wants to elevate the level of debate in Philippine politics so that the people could choose better leaders.

In an interview with the Philippine media delegation here, the President was asked about the bickering among politicians that has begun, as the country gears toward national elections next year.

The President said he and his Liberal Party mates want to change everyone’s mindset when it comes to political debate and discussions.

“We move our politics beyond personalities to issues. Also, ‘di ba, parang each party takes a stand on a particular issue and win the votes on that matter,” he told reporters.

“Parang when you elect this particular party, you expect this system of governance, you expect this type of decision-making and so on and so forth.”

In one of his meetings with Japanese businessmen on Thursday, the President was asked how he would ensure that current reforms are sustained after he steps down from power.

In response, he said the thrust for next year’s campaign, especially for the administration, will be continuity.

The Liberal Party has been espousing a shift from personality-oriented to issue-oriented politics, he told Japanese businessmen.

“So in next year’s campaign, the primary message of our party is continuity. And we believe that our countrymen, who are reaping the benefits of good governance, will not want to backtrack on the course that we have taken,” he said.

He said the Filipino voters have to see to it that the candidate who could ensure the continuity of reforms, succeeds him as president.

“So at the end of the day, it was our people who gave me the opportunity to serve them and to effect these changes, they would be the greatest guarantee that the path that we’ve taken would be continued,” he said. PND (as)

President Aquino: I have no intention to run for any position
(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday clarified that he does not intend to seek any local or national position after serving his six-year tenure in Malacañang.

The President made the statement following reports that took out of context his remarks during a recent Filipino community gathering here, that some sectors have been egging him to run for another public office to ensure the continuance of his government reforms.

“I have no intentions of running for any position. Nasa newscaps ko kanina kasi ‘yon—that I hinted I might run (in 2016),” he told members of the Philippine media delegation during an interview at the Imperial Hotel here.

“The phrase, I think, that you should pay attention to is: ‘my nephews and nieces might decide to change their names.’ Okay? So I just want that clear,” he added.

He was expressing concern over the possibility that the younger generations of the Aquino clan might be forced to enter politics by the same groups that have been urging him to stay in government.

During the get-together with the Filipino community here Tuesday, President Aquino instead told them that they must choose his rightful successor wisely next year to make sure the government reforms that he has initiated would continue even after his term. PND (hdc)

President Aquino: Philippines only standing up for its right to speak against China reclamation
(TOKYO, Japan) The Philippines is only standing up for its sovereign right to speak against China’s massive reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea, President Benigno S. Aquino III told members of the Japanese media here Friday.

President Aquino made the statement in response to the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s latest comment, decrying his comparison of China’s territorial expansion to that of Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland during Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime.

He said he already expected China’s negative reaction towards his remarks, since that has been their line from the beginning, but it was never his intention to hurt anybody’s feelings when he expressed such thoughts.

President Aquino moreover argued that if the respective positions of China and the Philippines were reversed, Beijing would certainly not deny itself the right to oppose similar moves by any country trying to claim its territory illegally.

“I guess one of the questions we would ask the Chinese people would be: ‘If you were the Philippines and suddenly you would have one coastline, or in effect, your whole west coast is gone, you will be retained with the east coast, would you say: ‘Yes, please take half of our waterways.’? I don’t think any country would willingly do that. So, we are just standing up for our rights. We respect everybody else’s rights. We ask that our rights also be respected,” he said.

Gone are the days when the Philippines just stayed silent while China attacked it through its media, with more leaders from countries around the world voicing their opinions on the issue, President Aquino said.

“Throughout the years, we have not answered, for instance, all of the attacks on the Philippines by their media. We have tried to do our best to de-escalate the situation. We have promised to abide by international law, and that is why we went to arbitration, which is found as a means of resolving these disputes in UNCLOS,” he said, referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

President Aquino reiterated his appeal to China to re-examine its actions over the West Philippine Sea, and revisit the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, to which it is a signatory, along with other Southeast Asian nations that have claims in the disputed waters.

“We were taught when we were younger that the ability to come to an agreement sometimes necessitates, or a lot of times necessitates, your putting yourself in the other’s shoes. Look at it from the other perspective,” he said. PND (hdc)

Bataan’s new hi-tech Command Center to secure Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation events
Bataan’s provincial government will inaugurate on Monday the P180-million 1Bataan Command Center, a modern security facility that will protect motorists, pedestrians, and businesses, as the province prepares to host back-to-back events of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

Bataan is set to welcome delegates of the APEC’s 21 member economies, who will gather at the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar heritage park and hotel in Bagac town for the Workshop on Fiscal Management Through Transparency and Reforms on June 9 to 10, and for the Senior Finance Officials’ Meeting on June 11 to 12. The events are part of year-round activities of the APEC, which the Philippines is hosting this year.

“We are opening our command center on Monday. Its first agenda will be the monitoring of the APEC event in Bagac, Bataan. There will be a lot of CCTV cameras [linked to the command center] and patrol vehicles,” Bataan Governor Albert Garcia said, referring to the 60 to 70 CCTV cameras installed along Bataan’s road network, mostly leading to Bagac.

Noting that Bataan is one of the most peaceful provinces in the country, Garcia said the command center was established to sustain the favorable peace-and-order situation in the province and to enhance capacity to respond to disasters and other emergencies.

The Bataan Police Provincial Office, Metro Bataan Development Authority, and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council have been tapped to help operate the command center and to provide security personnel during the APEC events.

The provincial government will host a reception dinner on June 10 to welcome the APEC delegates, who will be regaled with a performance by the shadow play dance group, El Gamma Penumbra, fresh from its grand prize win in the recent Asia’s Got Talent show.

Delegates will also be given a walking tour of Las Casas so they could experience Philippine history, heritage, and craftsmanship.

Bataan is one of the most progressive provinces in Central Luzon. Infrastructure developments in the province have made it a preferred investment destination. It is home to the Freeport Area of Bataan, Hermosa Ecozone Industrial Park, PNOC Alternative Fuels Corporation, Morong Ecozone Inc., DND Arsenal, and the Bataan Technological Park Inc.

Such multinational companies as Petron, Luenthai, Orica, Dunlop Slazenger Philippines, Inc., Unioil, and Mitsumi Philippines have set up operations in Bataan, which also has pristine beaches, nature parks, and historical markers as tourist attractions.

The APEC, which aims to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, groups 21 economies in the Pacific Rim – Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Russia; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; Vietnam Nam; The United States; and The Philippines.

Philippines, Japan to collaborate further to attain enhanced economic growth
(TOKYO, Japan) The Philippines and Japan, through their strategic partnership, have agreed on a wider collaboration to achieve regional economic growth.

Following their summit meeting on Thursday, President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came up with a joint declaration on the promotion of trade and investment, infrastructure development, health care, disaster risk reduction, agriculture and environment.

The two countries want improved regulations on imported food products, a closer tie-up on information and communication, and an agreement on social security.

To promote trade, the Philippines and Japan will enhance an industrial cooperation in such areas as automobile manufacturing, services, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and business environment.

Under the declaration, the Philippines is expected to address concerns in business environment, and policies in its vehicle manufacturing industry.

For its part, the Japanese government will support the Philippines in efforts to enhance the quality of the country’s human resources and other programs to make it a hub of human resource development.

On their economic partnership, the Philippines and Japan agreed to advance a study to improve the processing of the entry of Filipino nurses and caregivers to Japan under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

At the same time, the two countries will cooperate further to achieve the Philippines’ goal of universal health coverage and develop its health and medical sector.

To reduce disaster risk, both countries will launch a policy dialogue to discuss a cooperation on disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) based on Japan’s DRRM infrastructure and facilities.

The cooperation will particularly focus on the reduction of disaster risk in the Philippines due to the country’s vulnerability to typhoons, floods, and earthquakes.

Japan is also extending assistance for the completion of the Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project, which will approximately cost 11 billion yen.

To avert climate change, the Philippines and Japan will explore and conduct consultations under the Joint Crediting Mechanism to achieve low carbon growth.

The two governments will also launch a policy dialogue aimed at enhancing food self-reliance and the development of the food value chain to increase the value of Philippine agricultural products.

In the area of information and communications, both countries welcomed the development in Philippine telecommunications, after the country’s adoption of the integrated services digital broadcasting-terrestrial (ISDB-T) as its standard of digital terrestrial television broadcasting.

They also recognized the benefits of shifting the digital broadcasting and maximizing the use of vacant frequencies for broadband wireless access, such as TV white space technologies for rural connectivity. PND (as)