Showing the strong diplomatic relationship between Philippines and Japan, an official of the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed that there Filipinos can expect more Japanese-funded projects in the coming years especially in areas that are affected by conflict in Mindanao.
Mr. Natsuko Sakata, Assistant Press Secretary and Director of International Press Division, said the $202-million road network project in Mindanao is one of many being funded by the Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Japan Foreign Minister Taro Kono signed the exchange of notes on the Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao (RNDP) in Davao City last Sunday.
“The Japanese government is deeply involved in the Mindanao peace process,” Sakata told a select group of journalists in Makati City.
Aside from the infrastructure development project which Japan has already started, their government also extends assistance in the vocational training of former combatants, as well as in the area of capacity building, Sakata added.
There are many more projects that Japan will continue to support in the Philippines such as social safety net for the people to promote inclusive growth, social infrastructure, healthcare promotion, as well as rehabilitation of former drug users.
In 2017, Japan offered a one-trillion-yen aid package for the Philippines in the next five years to promote economic and infrastructure development.
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Already, the Japanese government has extended the help in the construction of Metro Manila subway project which is funded through a grant from JICA and is expected to kick off on the first quarter of this year and will be fully completed by third quarter of 2025.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government has also donated equipment worth 500 million yen or P210,000 to the Philippine National Police to boost the PNP’s operational capabilities which includes six bomb suits, six ballistic shields and 440 units of ballistic helmets.
The said ceremonial turnover was witnessed by His Excellency Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Ambassador Haneda said the donation is part of Japan’s development assistance to boost the PNP’s capabilities to combat terrorism, illegal drugs and other criminal activities, which President Duterte included in his campaign platform.
“As we challenge violent extremism in the region, it is more crucial than ever that Japan and the Philippines work together to enhance our collective capabilities,” Haneda said in his speech.
“Equipping police officers with the necessary tools is important as it would enable them to fullfil their tasks in dangerous situations. Lastly, the PNP should take pride in the fact that it has accomplished a great deal in terms of counterterrorism and drug enforcement operations,” Haneda said.