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Ambassador Garcia-Albano Promotes Cooperation Between Local Authorities of the Philippines and Japan

The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo and the Council of Local Authorities and International Relations (CLAIR) provided a briefing for delegates of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) regarding CLAIR’s efforts and initiatives, including in the internationalization of local governments in Japan on May 24, 2023. CLAIR was represented by the Executive Adviser, Ambassador Mitsuru Kitano.

In her remarks, Ambassador Mylene J. Garcia-Albano highlighted the various sister-city arrangements that have already been established between the Philippines and Japan, as well as the active participation of young Filipinos in the JET Program that fosters people-to-people relations, which serve as the foundation of the strength of Philippines-Japan bilateral relations. She expressed hope that “today’s briefing will jumpstart the institutional partnership between ULAP and CLAIR, which I believe is unique and has the potential to bring significant impact to both our countries at the local level.”

Quirino Province Governor Dakila Carlo E. Cua, National President of ULAP and National Chairman of the League of Provinces of the Philippines, underscored how forging strong ties and sharing best practices with international counterparts, such as CLAIR, could facilitate collaboration and mutual learning to enhance capabilities in local governance. He expressed ULAP’s desire to partner with CLAIR and identify areas where both organizations can work hand in hand to achieve shared goals of sustainable development and inclusive governance.

During the briefing, Ambassador Kitano provided an overview of CLAIR’s projects and activities, including in supporting sister-city relationships, providing training opportunities, carrying out research for local governments, and fostering people-to-people exchanges. He also highlighted examples of cooperation activities in the Philippines under CLAIR’s Local Government International Cooperation Specialist Dispatch Project on areas such as disaster management, landscape management, and the promotion of local products.

CLAIR is a government-affiliated foundation that works to support the internationalization efforts of local governments in Japan, including in supporting their overseas economic activities, international cooperation programs, and multicultural exchanges, among others. Its related organizations include the national federations of local governments and local assemblies in Japan.

ULAP is an umbrella organization that brings together various leagues representing local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines. Its mission is to advocate for policies and programs that strengthen LGUs and position them as partners in nation-building.