Japan vows support to peace, development in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/28 October) – The Japanese government has vowed to support the Philippines’ peace and development efforts in Mindanao, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said on Thursday evening.

Duterte, however, did not give details how Japan would help in the government’s peace efforts in his arrival message at the F. Bangoy International Airport.

“I sought and received Japan’s continued support for the peace and development agenda in Mindanao, as we move a step forward towards the goal of just and lasting peace for the peoples of Mindanao and for our country,” he said.

Before leaving for Japan on Tuesday, Duterte said Mindanao would be the “central focus” of his state visit from October 25 to 27 “to put on track this island region towards a just and lasting peace and development.”

“In all my interactions in Japan, it was clear to me and to everyone that Japan is, and will always be, a true friend of the Philippines,” he said.

Duterte added they signed deals with Japan and its largest companies on investments in manufacturing and agriculture that will generate several jobs.

“Japan is well-placed to remain as the Philippines top trading partner,” he said.

The president also discussed with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe how the two countries can further partnership in various areas of economic, socio-political, security and defense cooperation.

He said they agreed to strengthen ties between the two nations by harnessing their respective strengths and take advantage of them to further grow and continue playing a “rightful role in the region.”

He also emphasized that the “economic cooperation remains a linchpin between the two nations and encouraged the Japanese businessmen to pour in investments in the Philippines.“

“As I sought greater government partnership to create an enabling environment for both our businesses to thrive, I encouraged private businesses in Japan to invest in the Philippines,” he said.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol announced that he signed with a Japanese firm, Farmind Corp., a deal for an annual delivery of 20 million boxes of Cavendish bananas worth P5 billion from the Philippines.

This would generate about 14,000 farm jobs, he said, as the project will involve developing about 7,000 hectares of banana farms, directly employing former rebels in the conflict areas in the Southern Philippines.

“The Farmind Corp. project is really aimed at providing livelihood opportunities for rebel returnees and beneficiaries of the agrarian reform program,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)