Following deadly Jolo blasts, Japan renews vow to help PHL combat “scourge of terrorism”

(Eagle News)—Japan has renewed its vow to help the Philippines combat the “scourge of terrorism” following the twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu that killed at least 23 people.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Japan Foreign Minister Taro Kono, in his visit to Davao, also “conveyed (Japan Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe’s grave concern over the twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu, and expressed Japan’s condemnation of the terrorism and violent extremism..”

Panelo said Kono also reiterated “Japan’s sustained support for the Philippines’ quest for just and lasting peace and development in Mindanao, extended felicitations for the success of the holding of the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite and expressed Japan’s commitment to rehabilitate and reconstruct Marawi and develop ARMM, including the funding of the Road Network Development Plan for ARMM.”

The Japan foreign minister also “recognized the Philippines’ contribution to the socio-economic development of Japan and conveyed Japan’s plan to open up its labor market for qualified Filipinos,” Panelo said.

President Rodrigo Duterte for his part, Panelo said, “likewise lauded Japan — which he described as a true friend and proven partner– for its involvement in the Philippines’ Build, Build, Build program, and highlighted the quality of the infrastructure projects, as well as the transfer of technology and training embedded in the projects that would benefit Filipino practitioners and experts.”

He also hailed the inauguration of Japan’s Consulate General in Daval during the hourlong meeting, describing it as tantamount to “significantly expanding Japan’s presence and ties in the southern Philippines.”

Panelo said according to Duterte, there was the “need to continue strengthening the strategic partnership, particularly in addressing transnational crimes and conventional and emerging regional threats.”

“The President further expressed his desire to meet PM Abe again to discuss developments in bilateral ties and assess ways of moving forward together on shared concerns,” Panelo said.

Kono is on an official visit to the Philippines from Feb. 9 to 11, upon the invitation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.