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Marcos highlights importance of Japan aid in Mindanao peace process

TOKYO — On the second day of his working visit, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday emphasized the importance of Japan's support in the Philippines’ peace process in the southern region of the country.

In his speech during a courtesy call with members of the Japan-Philippines Parliament Friendship League, the President expressed gratitude to the Japanese government for its “unwavering support to the Philippine peace process and countless development assistance.”

"It has been a critical part of our peace process. It is a process that we have been undertaking for many, many years and I think and finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, the participation of the Japanese support in that peace process has been invaluable," Marcos said.

The President cited the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) program, which involves long-term support for governance, decommissioning and socio-economic development.

The Japanese government, Marcos said, has long been supportive of the peace process via various mechanisms, particularly the International Monitoring Team (IMT), the International Contact Group (ICG) and the Independent Commission on Policing (ICP).

The Presidential Communications Office, citing government figures, said that from 2002 to 2019, Japan's official development assistance (ODA) for Mindanao’s peace and development reached ¥51 billion.

Likewise, the Philippine chief executive also thanked the Japanese government for giving Filipinos living and working in Japan "a very good life."

"Our countrymen are unanimous in their expressions of their own gratitude for how they have been accepted into the workforce—of the Japanese workforce— and into the society, of the fabric of Japanese society," Marcos said.

To date, the PCO said there are around 300,000 Filipinos living and working in Japan.

Marcos also invited members of the Japanese parliament to visit the Philippines to see the results of the assistance continuously being given by their government to the Filipino people.

"Look at the effects of this support that you have been giving us, not only in southern Philippines but all the many—especially infrastructure projects that Japan has supported over the years," the President said.

Also present at the meeting with the organization were former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri; House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez; Special Assistant to the President, Secretary Antonio Ernesto Lagdameo Jr.; and Senator Mark Villar.

Meanwhile, JPPFL participants were members of the Japanese House of Representatives led by Chairman Moriyama Hiroshi, Vice Chairmen Okuno Shinsuke, Takemi Keizo and Nakagawa Masaharu.

Marcos, along with top Philippine government officials and business leaders, is currently on a five-day working visit here. — BM, GMA Integrated News