President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a bilateral meeting on Monday, November 13, with the Philippine leader reaffirming strong relations with Japan. “There’s a thing here that says that I should reaffirm, and I am reaffirming this by — in the strongest possible language that we have a very strong bond. It’s almost a sentimental attachment for many years,” President Duterte said as he ditched his prepared speech for the event.
The President expressed his gratitude to Abe for turning over trainer aircraft, machineries and radars to the Philippines.
He also reiterated his appreciation for the support of Japan during the recent armed conflict in Marawi.
“We are aware that you have been helping us, especially in Marawi even during the siege and we appreciate it very much. In behalf of the people of Marawi, I’d like to thank you again,” he said.
He also thanked the Japanese government for making it possible for him to have an audience with Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko during his official visit in Japan last month.
President Duterte and Prime Minister Abe witnessed the exchange of notes between several agencies of the Philippines and Japan.
Among the exchange of notes witnessed by the leaders include the Metro Manila Subway project, Arterial Road Bypass Project Phase 3, and notes on the economic and social development program.
The economic and social development grant includes the provision of equipment for Marawi City rehabilitation for the Department of Public Works and Highways and coast watch radars to increase the Philippine anti-terrorism capabilities in West Mindanao for the Philippine Coast Guard.
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