Ambassador Lopez Highlights Philippines’ Gains, Excellent PH-Japan Relations, before International Graduate Students in Tokyo

04 September — International graduate students at the prestigious National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo welcomed Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez last September 4, as the Ambassador delivered a well-received lecture on good governance gains in the Philippines and recent developments in Philippine-Japan relations before a full house.

Ambassador Lopez gave one of two opening lectures for the inaugural “Ambassadorial Lecture Series” organized by the GRIPS International Student Council.

Amb. Lopez delivering his lecture. Beside him is Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Gilberto Asuque

Opening with a situationer on Philippine affairs, the Ambassador outlined the sweeping positive changes and wave of optimism taking hold in the Philippines under the Aquino Administration’s vigorous and resolute pursuit of political reforms, economic development and inclusive growth under its “good governance is good economics” platform. Tracing the Philippines’ emergence as one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, the Ambassador cited the consecutive quarters of high growth posted by the Philippines, including 2013’s 7.2% GDP rise and recent 2nd Quarter GDP figures sustaining this trend at a 6.4% clip.

GRIPS Students listening attentively to a point being stressed by Amb. Lopez

He also highlighted the record high levels of investor and business confidence in the country, borne out by the bestowal of investment-grade ratings on the country by all the leading global ratings agencies, the strong inflow of FDI, and the Philippines’ vastly improved placing in global surveys, including its 33-spot upward leap in World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015.

The Ambassador also briefed GRIPS’ students on the outstanding state of Philippine-Japan relations, citing Japan’s vast contributions to the Philippines’ ongoing economic resurgence via Japan’s standing as the country’s top trading partner, top export market, top provider of ODA, and a leading source of foreign investments and inbound tourism. In the political and security field, he cited regular high-level visits, bilateral policy dialogues and robust cooperation in the fields of maritime security and the task of supporting peace and development in Southern Philippines.

GRIPS students welcomed the Ambassador’s infusion of personal insights and experiences into his talk, candidly tracing his transition from being life-long businessman to becoming the Philippines’ top diplomat in Japan beginning 2011. “It is a real honor to serve my country in the diplomatic frontlines, to be entrusted with conducting relations with Japan and to look after the welfare of our large Filipino community of over 200,000 in this country”, Ambassador Lopez told students.

Amb. Lopez (4th from left) with Embassy officials and GRIPS’ Filipino students

In the ensuing Q&A session, Ambassador Lopez candidly addressed students’ questions on current domestic and foreign policy challenges confronted by the Philippines. The Ambassador closed his appearance by interacting with GRIPS Student Council officials and Filipino students enrolled in the Institute.

A component of the Institute’s student-led Summer Program, the Lecture Series aims to promote a broader understanding of the policies and issues being addressed by selected countries, with emphasis on those represented by GRIPS’ diverse student population. END