MANILA — Malacañang on Monday congratulated Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe following his big election victory, saying his fresh mandate is a cause for optimism for stronger ties between Manila and Tokyo.
“We wish to congratulate His Excellency Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the results of the elections this weekend. This fresh mandate augurs well for the excellent Philippine-Japan ties,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
Abe won a historic third term as his Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partners secured a two-thirds parliamentary “super majority” during the weekend.
Abella pointed out that the Philippines have many points of collaboration with Japan, which include economic, socio-political security and defense cooperation.
Aside from being the country’s top trading partner, Japan is also the Philippines’ top source of official foreign assistance (ODA).
During President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to Japan in October last year, he secured USD 1.85 billion in investment pledges from Japanese companies.
Last January, Abe visited the Philippines and became the first foreign head of government to be hosted by President Duterte in Malacañang since he assumed office.
In that meeting, the Japanese leader committed up to one trillion yen in ODA grant as well as investments to the Philippines in the next five years.
Abe even went to Duterte’s home in Davao City.
The Japanese government has also pledged to provide patrol boats and aircrafts to the Philippines to help secure its territorial waters.
At the height of the Marawi rebellion, the Japanese government donated USD2 million in humanitarian aid to the Philippines to augment relief operations in Marawi City.
In the meantime, Duterte’s economic managers and the Japanese government are firming up financing commitments for PHP315.4 billion in big-ticket infrastructure projects.
Government officials said the Philippine and Japanese governments are set to sign the loan commitments for three big-ticket projects when Prime Minister Abe visits Manila in November for the ASEAN Summit.
These are the PHP230-billion Mega Manila Subway Project-Phase 1; the PHP211.5-billion Malolos-Clark Airport-Clark Rail Project: and the PHP9.99-billion Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project.
“We are therefore confident that both countries’ solid and strategic partnership would continue to gain greater strength in the years to come,” Abella said.