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Fruitful working trip

February 13, 2023 - Monday 2:02 PM by Erwin Tulfo

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Nothing is more reassuring than hearing President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos, Jr. say that he sees a breakthrough in the country's economic recovery and development.

The President's five-day working visit in Japan reaped contributions and pledges totaling over $13 billion or more than P700 billion that he said will "further solidify the foundations of our economic environment."

It sounds more credible, coming straight from the horse's mouth.

The President arrived Sunday night with First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, and Filipino businessmen that comprised the Philippine delegation.


The enthusiasm with which the Japanese and Filipino executives struck the deals on investments in the Philippines is contagious. And why not?

At least 24,000 new jobs will be generated when the $600 million investment of Mitsui & Co. materializes in priority sectors of agriculture, infrastructure, and renewable energy.

Several investments sealed between the Philippines and Japan are "ready to go," according to Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual.

PBBM witnessed the signing of 35 investment deals between the Philippines, the Japanese government, and business leaders.

Japanese carmaker Toyota has committed to investing some P4.4 billion in producing light commercial vehicles (LCV) in the Philippines.

The announcement elicited nostalgic memories of the Toyota Tamaraw, the utility vehicle introduced in 1977, which PBBM describes as a "success story" well worth emulating.

"We have always been appreciative of the involvement of Toyota in the Philippines over so many years. I think the mutual experience between Toyota and the Philippines has been a good one and a partnership we can look to as a success."

PBBM also highlighted his talks with executives of Japanese shipping companies and associations, which he said were important due to the Japanese maritime industry's employment of 31,763 Filipino seafarers, or 70 percent of Japanese ship crews.

He added that Japanese shipping companies have invested and partnered with Philippine stakeholders for maritime education and welfare programs.

The President likewise touted Japan's commitment to providing infrastructure development loans amounting to $3 billion or P163 billion for two railway projects: the Malolos-Tutuban portion of the North-South Commuter Railway and the North-South Commuter Railway extension.

These railway rehabilitation and development projects are definitely long overdue.

"The completion of these projects, along with other ongoing large scale official development-assistance projects such as the Metro Manila subway project and many more across the country, are expected to translate to better lives for Filipinos through improved facilitation of the movement of people, of goods, and of services," PBBM pointed out.

The President also described as "fruitful" his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who committed with Marcos Jr. to strengthening the two nations' strategic partnership.

PBBM and Kishida saw the signing of the terms of reference for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities for Japanese forces in Manila, as well as agreed on bilateral port calls and defense equipment transfer.

The trip was not all about trade and commerce, as PBBM and other officials gave indications Tokyo and Manila were moving in the direction of a forces agreement between the two countries.

"We have cemented our defense security relations. We have also covered a great deal of ground in the areas of agriculture, ICT cooperation, and with the signing of bilateral agreements that provide the framework for enhanced mutually beneficial collaboration in many areas," PBBM said.

"From my visit, it was very clear that our strategic partnership with Japan has withstood the test of time and is poised for a new decade of mutual trust, mutual support, and mutual benefit," PBBM added.

The Japan visit was the President's 10th overseas official trip since becoming President and his third this year.

In view of the successes of PBBM's trips, his critics might as well shut their mouths or try to contribute something positive.


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