AMID public complaints on transportation and its related infrastructure, the Philippines and Japan agreed to build the P93.457-billion railway from the Tutuban Station in Divisoria, Manila to Malolos, Bulacan.
That was among the highlights of the bilateral talks the two nations held Thursday after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa exchanged notes on a yen loan that will finance the “North-South Commuter Railway Project” amounting to 241.991 billion yen (about P93.457 billion).
The railway project aims to strengthen the transport network and ease serious traffic congestion in Metro Manila by constructing a commuter railway between Malolos and Tutuban and contribute to a more secure and sustainable economic development through promotion of investments.
Another key agreement focused on coordinating the pension payments of people who live or work in the Philippines and Japan and are covered by their respective social security systems or even another country, Malacañang said.
“The cooperation between Japan and the Philippines has become ever closer,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who witnessed the signing of the agreement along with President Benigno Aquino III.
While Aquino had already offered his kind support of the legislation for peace and security, Abe said he took the opportunity to reiterate the position of Japan to make further contributions to the peace and stability of the region and other global communities through “proactive” contributions to peace.
“We welcome the agreement in principle on the transfer of defense equipment and agreed to work together for the early signing of agreement and realization of cooperation in defense equipment,” Abe said.
There was a request from President Aquino regarding the provision of large patrol vessels to the Philippine Coast Guard and Japan would like to consider the specifics of the matter, Abe said.
“I reported to the President Japan’s decision to provide approximately 15-billion yen to support the agribusiness promotion project in Mindanao upon request from the Philippine government,” Abe said.
“The President and I also had a candid exchange of views on regional peace and stability. We shared deep concerns over unilateral actions to change the status quo such as the large-scale land reclamation and building of outposts in the South China Sea,” Abe said.
“At the same time, we confirmed the importance of partnership in the global community based on the rule of law to protect open, free and peaceful seas,” Abe also said.
“The visit to the Philippines by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress early next year will be an auspicious event to mark the opening of a series of celebrations for the 60th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic relations between our two nations,” the prime minister said.
“We look very much forward to cooperating closely with the Philippines to make Their Majesties’ visit a great success. It will be a gesture of new impetus for our friendship and I look forward to working further with the Philippines to make further contributions to the stability and prosperity of the region and of the world,” he said.
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