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President Benigno S. Aquino III’s Statement During the Joint Press Remarks with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda

(Photo courtesy of Malacanang Photo Bureau)

(Photo courtesy of Malacanang Photo Bureau)

Prime Ministers’ Office, Tokyo, Japan
27 September 2011

Your Excellency Prime Minister Noda, members of the Press: A pleasant good evening.

It is my pleasure and honor to be in Japan on this Official Working Visit. I again thank Prime Minister Noda and the Japanese government and people for their hospitality.

Japan is one of our most important allies, consistently ranking among our top trade partners, and top sources of investments and Official Development Assistance. Our active bilateral engagement, combined with our shared values and our many common advocacies in the global arena, have truly made our relations a Strategic Partnership.

Development cooperation is one of the pillars of this Strategic Partnership. I thank Prime Minister Noda for affirming the Philippines as an important target country for Japanese Official Development Assistance, and for Japan’s assurance to sustain ODA at the current levels. I thank the Prime Minister for extending us new ODA.

I was happy to witness with him the Exchange of Notes on the Yen Loan for the Forestland Management Project worth 9.22 billion yen or about 5.87 billion pesos, which will help preserve critical river basins in the Philippines spanning four regions.

We agreed to sustain our active economic cooperation, founded on the framework of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA). Our governments will be working closely for its effective implementation and for the success of its first General Review this year, so that we can both maximize its prospective benefits.

I was happy to inform the Prime Minister of rising investor confidence in the Philippines, as attested by our string of credit rating upgrades. I underscored my unwavering commitment to good governance and to creating an attractive and stable investment climate.

I was also satisfied with our exchange of views on regional concerns of mutual interest. Being both maritime countries, we affirmed our abiding interest in cooperating on maritime security issues. I conveyed the Philippines’ appreciation for Japan’s capacity-building assistance to the Philippine Coast Guard in terms of training and equipment, which boost its ability to watch over our extensive coastlines and internal waters.

The Philippines and Japan are both prone to climate-related and geological disasters. We thus affirmed our resolve to continue our strong cooperation, at the bilateral and regional levels, in disaster prevention and management.

I also reiterated my government’s deepest appreciation for Japan’s unwavering and strong support for the Peace Process in Mindanao. Japan has been an active member of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), and has funded a significant number of grassroots projects in the island.

Prime Minister Noda and I affirmed the abiding Kizuna―the close bonds of friendship between the Filipino and Japanese peoples.

I am pleased that this visit afforded us the opportunity to affirm this in the most meaningful way.

Yesterday, we visited Ishinomaki to renew the continuing solidarity of my country with the Japanese people, as they rise steadily and surely from the devastation of the March 11 earthquake.

Finally, my administration and that of Prime Minister Noda assumed the mantle of leadership at a critical juncture in our respective countries’ histories.

I am confident that tonight, our governments have charted a robust path for nurturing a strategic partnership that will best serve the mutual interest of Filipino and Japanese peoples.

Thank you.

(Photo courtesy of Malacanang Photo Bureau)

(Photo courtesy of Malacanang Photo Bureau)