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Thursday, April 25, 2024

President back home, brings P14.5b in pledges from Japan

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The Philippines garnered P14.5 billion in investment pledges during President Marcos’ four-day visit to Tokyo to attend the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit.

The President, arriving from Japan at 11 p.m. Monday, said the newly signed agreements and pledges to invest in the Philippines could create 15,750 additional jobs.

“I am delighted to know that the letters of intent signed last February 2023 and those signed today now aggregate P771.6 billion or about $14 billion in pledges from Japanese investors—expected to generate approximately 40,000 jobs (including previous pledges),” Mr. Marcos said Monday before flying home.

“Your interest in doing business with us will surely help achieve mutual economic growth between the Philippines and Japan,” he added.

The Presidential Communications Office said the President would notmake an arrival statement Monday night but issue a video message later on.

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The President earlier said the investments cover a wide range of sectors, including semiconductors, health care, infrastructure, and agriculture.

“But many of these projects that investments that they’re bringing inare not only for the Philippine market; they are also for foreign markets that will also improve our external balance and payments,” he said.

Presidential Adviser on Investment and Economic Affairs Frederick Go said an investor event organized by the Department of Trade and Industry included the signing of nine new memoranda of understanding with a total value of P14 billion.

More significantly, Go said over 20 companies provided updates to the President on their pledges from his trip in February.

“And on that part, we don’t know the exact number today, but [there were] P169 billion of actualized investments from the trip earlier this year,” Go said.

Notable collaborations include the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp. for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN), focusing on studies related to the development of New Clark City.

BCDA is also partnering with Manila Japanese School (MJS) for the renewal of the school’s lease in a four-hectare site at Bonifacio Global City for another 25 years.

Other investors, such as Ibiden Co. Ltd and Japan Aviation Electronics Industry Ltd., are injecting foreign direct investments (FDIs) into electronics manufacturing to enhance efficiency and increase production by modernizing their Philippine facilities.

Medley Inc., Minebea Mitsumi Inc., Nitori Holdings Co. Ltd, and Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. also committed to invest in the country, focusing on business process outsourcing operations, expanding furniture, and improving production and replacing aging Philippine facilities.

DMCI Project Developers Inc. is also forming a joint venture with Japan’s Marubeni Corp. for property development projects.

Also, while in Japan, the President said there were substantial advantages to the proposed reciprocal access agreement (RAA) between the Philippines and Japan in maintaining regional peace and stability.

During his preliminary statements at his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the 50th Commemorative Summit of the ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in Tokyo, President Marcos underscored the strengthening relationship between the two countries, exemplified by the Official Security Assistance (OSA) resulting from the establishment of a strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan.

“We are in agreement that we consider to be extremely significant between our two countries is the reciprocal access agreement that will give us a greater capability in terms of not only security but also in terms of disaster preparedness, alleviation, and adjustment,” the President told Kishida.

“And that is something that I believe is very, very significant andthat it will bring to us greater capacity to maintain the peace in [the South China Sea],” he added.

The RAA seeks to bolster maritime cooperation between the twocountries significantly, streamlining procedures and establishingguidelines for Philippine forces visiting Japan for training and joint exercises, and vice versa.

Formal negotiations on the RAA took place in Tokyo in November, with the Philippine delegation led by the Department of National Defense and negotiating teams from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice.

During the meeting with the Japanese leader, the President also acknowledged Prime Minister Kishida’s state visit to the Philippines last month, during which he addressed both Houses of Congress in a joint session.

Speaker Martin Romualdez on Monday expressed his support for the President’s stance on the need for stronger international alliances in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea and the wider Asian region.

The Speaker’s endorsement comes amid ongoing talks between the Philippines and Japan on a reciprocal access agreement for the deployment of military forces, a critical move amid escalating regional tensions.

In other developments:

* The President said the Philippines joined member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in condemning North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile towards the Sea of Japan.

* The President also joined other leaders of the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC) in committing to adopt various measures toward reducing carbon dioxide emissions to address the harmful effects of climate change.

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