(Eagle News)–The Philippines and Japan signed key agreements on security and maritime cooperation, as Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to strengthen cooperation with the Philippines for a free and open international order based on the rule of law.
The agreements were signed shortly after President Bongbong Marcos’ bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister, who is on an official visit to the Philippines from Nov. 3 to 4.
President Marcos said there was an Exchange of Notes on the Official Security Assistance (OSA) from Japan to the Government of the Philippines.
The OSA, the Presidential Communications Office said, will further enhance the military capacities of countries, including the Philippines, which shares a common security grant worth JPY 600 million or around P235.50 million intended to help boost its Defense department efforts.
This is to be done by securing coastal radars for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which shall, in turn, help enhance maritime domain awareness capability and overall maritime security.
“Japan and the Philippines are both maritime nations and strategic partners sharing a fundamental principles and values,” Kishida said in his opening statement during the bilateral meeting.
“And as the international community faces complex crises, we would like to strengthen our cooperation with the Philippines to maintain and strengthen a free and open international order based on the rule of law to ensure a world where human dignity is protected,” he added.
The President, for his part, said he was looking forward to expanding the Philippines’ cooperation with Japan in key areas.
“Our decades of cooperation have developed into a robust and strategic partnership built on trust, mutual respect, and common values,” he said.
Other agreements signed
Also signed during the Prime Minister’s visit were key agreements for Bangsamoro, and on mining and tourism.
Shortly after the bilateral meeting, the President announced the Exchange of Notes on the Non-Project Grant Aid (NPGA) for the Acquisition of Construction Equipment for Road Network Improvement / Implementation and Disaster Quick Response Operation in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM) was also signed.
The grant worth JPY 957 million or US$6 million, according to the PCO, will significantly help mitigate the impact of flooding aggravated by climate change in the Bangsamoro region.
Also signed were the Memorandum of Cooperation on Mining Sector between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry of Japan, and the Memorandum of Cooperation in the Field of Tourism between the Department of Tourism (DOT) of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism of Japan.
The agreements aim to promote the sustainable development of the mining and mineral resources sectors of the Philippines and Japan and boost cooperation between the two countries in tourism.
Upper Middle Income Country Status
During the meeting, the President also expressed appreciation for Japan’s dynamic support for the country’s efforts to attain Upper Middle Income Country (UMIC) status by 2025 in line with the administration’s Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.
For this, the President noted the Japan-funded Metro Manila Subway Project, and the development of the North-South Commuter Railway and its extension, in particular, will ensure a reliable, safe, and efficient mass transportation system for the entire country.
“My heartfelt thanks once again to Prime Minister Kishida and his delegation for this fruitful and meaningful visit,” the President said.
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