PM Abe’s visit to strengthen PH-Japanese relations

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 Jan) – The two-day visit of Japanese Prime Shinzō Abe will bring the relationship of Philippines and Japan to a new level.

Romeo Montenegro, director for investment promotion and public affairs of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), told a press conference Wednesday that the stronger Philippine-Japan relations will specifically benefit Mindanao in terms of economic relations.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Japan Prime Minister Shinzō Abe share a light moment during the declaration of joint statement following the expanded bilateral meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Japan on October 26, 2016. REY BANIQUET/Presidential Photo

Abe, who will be the first head of state to visit the country under the current administration, will also visit Davao City, the hometown of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, on Friday.

Montenegro acknowledged the help of the Japanese government to the Mindanao area, as the largest provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

He said that the program implemented with the support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has also helped with the development of the country, most especially of the island, in areas of governance, education, health, and infrastructure.

Montenegro said that they are currently working on a list of new projects that can be rolled out using funds from the Japanese government. He said that they will come out with a final list by next month.

“What we are expecting to move forward and work specifically is coming up with the list of those projects that can be rolled out with funding from Japan,” he said. “We are expecting to have a workshop undertaken in middle of February.”

Montenegro said that he is also overwhelmed by the interest of the Japanese to invest in renewable energy, specifically hydropower plants, in the island.

Japanese investors and their Filipino counterparts are expected to meet in the city on Friday for possible joint venture.

A DPWH personnel installs the Philippine and Japan flags along JP Laurel Avenue, Davao City on Tuesday (10 January 2017) in preparation for the visit of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday. Mindanews Photo

“For the visit of Prime Minster Abe, we are expecting a delegation of economic managers of the Japanese government and the private sector. There is an activity there where there is an investment interaction among the business leaders and Japanese sometime on Friday,” he said.

Meeting will be held at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao, Montenegro said.

He added that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 11 will present investment opportunities in the region while the MinDA will highlight the Mindanao macroeconomic investment picture.

Malacañang officials revealed that the itinerary of Abe’s visit includes a visit to the house of Duterte. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)