PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday embarked on another foreign trip, this time to Japan, to encourage more investors to come to the Philippines.
In his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, Duterte said he would draw investments, support for infrastructure projects, maritime cooperation and aid to strife-torn Mindanao during his visit.
“We will discuss, among others, greater politico-social and defense cooperation… With Japan as the Philippines’ top trading partner, I shall seek the sustainment and further enhancement of our important economic ties,” he said.
“I look forward to meeting business leaders in Japan. I will tell them clearly that the Philippines is open for business,” the President added.
Duterte said he will seek greater cooperation in infrastructure development, particularly high-quality, modern transportation.
“I shall seek the strengthening of this role through more high-impact projects that will benefit our nation,” the President said, adding that Mindanao would be a “central focus” of his three-day Japanese visit.
“Together with Japan, we shall seek to put on track this island-region towards a just and lasting peace and development,” he said.
First big project
Duterte said earlier he was eyeing new railway systems as the “first big project” of his presidency, one of which would be the Mindanao Railway System.
While in Tokyo, Duterte said he will pay a courtesy call on Japan’s Emperor Akihito, adding that the visit will be “imbued with great and special significance.”
The President said he also looked forward to meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose invitation “paves the way to discussion of issues of mutual importance to our countries and people.”
Abe invited Duterte to visit Japan at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Laos in September.
“The visit will be an opportunity for me to personally thank Japan for its pre-eminent and peerless role as the Philippines’ development partner,” Duterte said.
Japan is one of the Philippines’ top trading partners and major sources of development aid.
Tokyo also supports the Philippines’ efforts to end a four-decade-long Muslim insurgency in the south.
Through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, it funded the construction of a leadership academy in Maguindanao, where Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels are based.
Duterte said he will also meet the leaders of the Japan-Philippines Parliamentarians Friendship League “to seek greater interaction between the collaboration by our legislators to a common agenda.”