Japan pledges $8.7B in aid, investments
Japan has pledged $8.7 billion in aid and private investments to the Philippines over the next five years, but stressed the country should also move to improve its business environment.
Japanese Foreign Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura said Japan would like to contribute to the Philippines’ infrastructure development, including transportation and electricity, using Japanese expertise.
It would also be involved in peace and development in Mindanao, including the urban development of President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown, Davao City, and the implementation of projects in irrigation, sanitation, power, road construction and education in conflict areas.
The two countries would put up the joint committee on economic cooperation and infrastructure, and Japan would send experts to the National Economic Development Authority.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced shortly upon arrival in Manila that Japan would be bringing in 1 trillion yen (more than P400 billion or $8.7 billion) in official development assistance and private investments to the Philippines over the next five years of the Duterte administration.
But Kawamura said Japan and the Philippines’ relationship was a two-way street, and Manila was not just a mere recipient of funds.
He said Abe was also looking forward to an improved business environment in the Philippines.
“But at the same time, the Prime Minister also underlined the importance that this is a two-way street. This is not just a one-way flow of the investments, of money. But for a very effective and comprehensive development of the Philippine economy, I’d like to emphasize that the business and investment-friendly environment inside of the Philippines is necessary,” he said in a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday night.
Japanese businessmen are looking forward to the lifting of constitutional restrictions on foreign direct investment, he said.
The Philippine President has been forging close friendships with rivals Japan and China, as he pushes away traditional ally the United States.
Abe has nevertheless been supportive of improving ties between Manila and Beijing in light of the arbitral court ruling that invalidated China’s claim to nearly the whole of the South China Sea. —WITH A REPORT FROM AP
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