Duterte thanks Japan for COVID-19 assistance in phone call with Suga
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday thanked the Japanese government for its assistance to the Philippines amid the coronavirus pandemic, Malacañang said.
In a statement, Malacañang said Duterte shared a “warm, engaging and productive” 20-minute conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday.
“The President thanked Japan for its generous COVID-19 assistance to the Philippines. This includes 20 billion yen approval out of the 50 billion yen Post-Disaster Standby Loan and 1 billion yen more for cold chain development assistance,” the Palace said.
“Prime Minister Suga, for his part, recognized and expressed support for the Philippine government’s efforts to address the pandemic,” it added.
Prime Minister Suga also conveyed his regrets for postponing his official visit to the Philippines due to Japan’s COVID-19 situation.
Malacañang said Duterte expressed “full support” for the decision and said the Philippines stands in solidarity with the Japanese people in facing the pandemic.
Both leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral ties and build on the achievements of 65 years of normalized relations and 10 years of strengthened strategic partnership.
Duterte also thanked Japan’s support for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao transition process, describing the country as an “unrivaled partner for peace and development in Mindanao.”
He added that joint socio-economic development initiatives will benefit peace-loving Mindanaoans.
Malacañang said the President also expressed gratitude over Prime Minister Suga’s support for the Build, Build, Build program.
For his part, Suga said Japan will continue “this key area of partnership” with the Philippines, recognizing Duterte’s assertion that projects such as the first Manila Subway will improve the quality of life and productivity of Filipinos.
Both leaders said they look forward to seeing each other in Manila as soon as circumstances allow, Malacañang said.
Suga earlier called off a planned visit to both the Philippines due to the COVID-19 situation in Japan.
Malacañang said President Duterte understood why the Japanese leader had to make the decision.
A Palace official then said Duterte and Suga may instead hold a telesummit or a phone call after the visit was postponed.
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