Asian allies

The Philippine economy is booming. With more foreign players starting to invest in the country, there is no better time to harness the good prospect of doing business in the Philippines than now. Despite some tough times, the country is still able to offer the best investment opportunities.

The country is entering a “golden age of strategic partnership” with Japan, as both sides have agreed to further strengthen cooperation in various areas of mutual concern.

This was how Pres. Rodrigo Duterte described his recent two-day sojourn to the Land of the Rising Sun on Oct. 30-31, where he met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to reaffirm bilateral partnership between the two Asian nations and deepen their cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

When he returned home on Tuesday, Oct. 31, Duterte brought home with him multi-billion dollars worth of pledges of assistance and investments from Japan.

The Japanese government reiterated its full commitment to assist the Philippines in its economic and infrastructure development in the next five years by pledging close to $9 billion through a special fund.

“This covers huge impact and high-value infrastructure projects that my country needs to sustain and spur our economic growth. There will be some of the most ambitious and groundbreaking projects, including the Metro Manila Subway project, and major developments in the regions and provinces,” Duterte announced.

Prime Minister Abe also vowed “maximum support” for the restoration of Marawi and further strengthen support for Mindanao’s peace and development and its efforts toward the establishment of an autonomous government.

He said it was a great honor to welcome Duterte whom he described as “dear and cherished friend.”

“I conformed with President Duterte that we are both maritime nations sharing basic values and strategic interests. And as such, Japan and the Philippines will cooperate to address common issues such as North Korea nuclear and missile issue and the only resolution of the abduction issue and realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific and also counter measures against terrorism and illegal drugs,” Abe said.

Aside from the whopping amount worth of investments, the two leaders also vowed to further promote bilateral cooperation in energy, employment creation, information and communication technology, environment, agriculture and disaster reduction.

Six decades have passed since the reconciliation of the Philippines and Japan after the damage brought upon by the Japanese Military in the country during World War II. Since then, Japan has been one of the Philippines ’ top donors by continuously providing the country with grants and soft loans.

Duterte’s recent trip from Japan brought not only good news but also generated a certainty about the future path of cooperation between the two countries. Japan—being an adherent of globalization—expressed its confidence in the Philippines and has always provided ways to help the country gain its full economic potential.

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