A Golden Age of Strategic Partnership
Through strong leadership and the establishment of real economic drivers, the Philippines has transformed itself into a leading Southeast Asian investment destination.
Despite impressive economic growth, there are ‘growing pains’ for the country to address and infrastructure acceleration is high on the government’s ten point Socioeconomic Agenda. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is focused on infrastructure and the development of industries to create jobs and uplift the lives of Filipinos.
Foreign direct investment will be crucial. Through the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ (BBB) program, as much as US$170 billion is expected to be spent before 2022.
“The Philippines is the rising star of Asia”, says Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Ms. ‘Bing’ Limjoco. “Right now we are at the sweet spot for economic growth with sixty five per cent of the working population aged between twenty and thirty five. BBB projects will kick start a golden age of entrepreneurship which, in turn, will benefit micro, small and medium sized enterprises.
The country’s ties to Japan continue to represent a real opportunity for both nations to work together in close partnership.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing valuable support for a number of major BBB projects including the ambitious Metro Manila Subway.
“BBB is an initiative that can push the country in the right direction”, says The Philippines Japan Society, president, Francis Laurel.
Both countries’ Ambassadors are in agreement that the close ties between the Philippines and Japan will continue to benefit both nations.
“As President Duterte stated in Tokyo last October, our two countries are entering a “Golden Age of Strategic Partnership.” Japan Ambassador Koji Haneda.
“In fact, Japan-Philippine economic ties have never been as strong as they are in 2018, a year that marks the 10th anniversary of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership (JPEPA). For the Philippines, Japan is the top export destination, the top direct investor with more than 1400 Japanese companies investing in the Philippines, and the top donor of Official Development Assistance. With regards to people-to-people exchange, the number of Filipinos visiting Japan has increased by 5 times in the last 5 years, and the number of Japanese visiting the Philippines has also steadily increased”.
“Japan and the Philippines are a perfect match to help each other in overcoming challenges that each country faces. Japan has technology and capital but faces a rapidly aging society, while the Philippines has a growing pool of young talents. As such, Japan is providing its capital and technology to help the Philippines overcome its infrastructure gap. Notably, Japan is supporting the Philippines in building the Philippines’ first ever subway. Conversely, increasingly more Filipinos, such as caregivers and nurses, are joining Japan’s labor force, helping Japan overcome its aging society-related issues. Rest assured, the Embassy of Japan is determined to work closely together with the Philippine government, the people of the Philippines, and all the relevant stakeholders to further the “Golden Age of Strategic Partnership” between Japan and the Philippines.
“Under the firm hand and resolute leadership of both President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who have themselves developed close personal bonds, we have inaugurated the “Golden Age” of the Philippines-Japan strategic partnership. The next few years will see the visible signs of this new era – combining Dutertenomics and its aggressive BBB program with Japan’s 1-trillion Yen commitment to economic and infrastructure support. Of the many engines propelling the Philippines’ inexorable rise to the ranks of full-fledged Asian Tigers, there is little doubt that our across-the-board engagement with Japan provides perhaps the strongest thrust”.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Atty. Noel Puyat recognises the importance of regular two-way exchanges between the Philippines and Japan. “The state visits between the two leaders highlight the importance of the relationship between two countries. They seem to see eye-to-eye on most issues and I believe relations will only strengthen in the coming years”.
“The relationship between the two nations is very apparent at the highest level of government”, says Hiroaki Uesugi, president of the Japan Foundation Manila. “However, for the relationship to truly flourish, there must be a mutual respect and understanding between individuals of the respective nations. More and more of the Filipino youth are taking interests in Japanese culture, language and arts. It is our duty at the Foundation to nurture this interest in Japan for the continual enhancement of our special friendship”.
Signing of the JP¥ 104.5 Billion Loan Agreement between GPH and JICA as the first tranche for the construction of the Metro Manila Subway Project by DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and JICA Chief Representative Y