Thursday, March 23, 2023

Delivering Stories of Progress


Phl cherishes Ambassador Haneda’s support, as Japanese envoy leaves for his new post

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 Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda at Hino Philippines inauguration of Technical Support and Training Center in Laguna last September 2019

By Alithea De Jesus

As Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda sets to move to another post, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has thanked the outgoing envoy for a “most productive” stint in the Philippines, which saw bilateral relations between Philippines-Japan rising to new levels of cooperation under his three-year tour of duty.

Under Ambassador Haneda’s stint, the Philippines signed several loan and grant agreements for President Duterte’s centerpiece program “Build, Build, Build,” with most of these accords processed in record time through the “fast and sure approach” adopted by both countries, Secretary Dominguez said.

Among these agreements is the JPY104.53 billion yen loan for the first phase of the Philippines’ single biggest—and most ambitious—infrastructure project under the Duterte administration—the Metro Manila Subway Project.

Over JPY 650 billion-worth of loans covering 15 agreements have been signed by the Philippines with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) since Ambassador Haneda presented his credentials to President Duterte in October 2017.

“The assistance of Japan has been invaluable to the Philippines, especially under your Ambassadorship, Your Excellency, it is unprecedented,” Secretary Dominguez said during Ambassador Haneda’s farewell call.

Secretary Dominguez also noted that under Ambassador Haneda’s tour of duty, the Philippines became the first recipient of Japan’s emergency support loan for COVID-19 affected economies with the early disbursement last Aug. 14 of its 50-billion yen financing package to the Duterte administration.

This Japanese aid aims to assist the government’s ongoing efforts to contain the further spread of the coronavirus and provide economic relief to Filipinos most affected by the global health and economic crises, he said.

“Your stint has been one of the most productive for the Philippines. The amount of assistance and long term loans that had been under your ambassadorship, has been the highest I think ever in the Philippines,” Secretary Dominguez told the Ambassador during the latter’s farewell call.

“It is us who have to thank you for your very active and great support,” Secretary Dominguez added.

Secretary Dominguez also pointed out that with Ambassador Haneda, Japan was among the first countries to respond to the Philippines’ call for international assistance in rehabilitating and reconstructing the devastated Mindanao city of Marawi.

Ambassador Haneda was also instrumental in Japan’s help to the Philippine government in its formulation of a regional development masterplan to maximize the economic potentials of the Subic Bay Freeport and its surrounding areas.

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