• Manila, Tokyo step up bilateral cooperation

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    The Philippines and Japan on Friday signed exchange-of-notes (E/N) for joint projects aimed at promoting development in key sectors of the country.

    Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa signed the exchange-of-notes for Consolidated Rehabilitation of Illegal Drug Users, Economic and Social Development Program and Project for Improvement of Equipment for Power Distribution in Bangsamoro.

    The exchange-of-notes was made during a ceremony at the Carlos P. Garcia Hall at the Department of Foreign Affairs head office in Pasay City (Metro Manila).

    Manalo also witnessed the signing of the Peace Building and Education Support for Children in Conflict Affected Mindanao project between Japan and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

    The E/N signing is the preliminary step toward the implementation of the projects, which are seen further enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

    Speaking after the signing ceremony, Manalo said the E/Ns embody the robust and steadfast partnership of the Philippines and Japan and are a testament to their strong strategic relationship.

    Japan is the Philippines’ top Official Development Assistance (ODA) partner since 2010 and has contributed significantly to the country’s development and capacity-building measures in areas that include infrastructure, security, health, trade, tourism, human resources, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

    The Philippines and Japan celebrated the 60th anniversary of the normalization of their diplomatic relations in 2016. JAIME R. PILAPIL

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