By Prince Golez
President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his gratitude to Japan for its “solidarity and offer of assistance” after typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong) slammed into the Philippines in September 2018.
“Nations – especially those in Southeast Asia – continue to be vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. This is one area of major concern shared by both ASEAN and Japan,” Duterte said during the 21st ASEAn-Japan Summit in Singapore on Wednesday.
Mangkhut, which triggered landslides in Benguet province in northern Luzon, killed a total of 82 people in the country, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. Reports said the cost of typhoon’s damage to infrastructure and agriculture in Regions 1, 2, 3, CALABARZON, 5, 6, and Cordillera Administrative Region stood at P33,930,734,070.
The Philippine leader, in his intervention, said the immediate recovery of Japan from typhoon Jebi, reportedly the strongest typhoon to make landfall in the East Asian nation, is a “testament to Japan’s remarkable resilience and admirable ability to build back stronger communities.”
Also, the chief executive recognized the significance of the Fukuda Doctrine, a policy that Japan would never become a military power, on Japan-Southeast Asia relations, noting that it “ushered in a new era of moe meaningful partnerships” among the nations.
“This year, we honored the significance of the Fukuda Doctrine with the unveiling of a memorial marker at Manila Hotel where then Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda made the historic pronouncement that redefined Japanese diplomacy in 1977,” said Duterte.
He added, “Today, we continue to see the impact of the Fukuda Doctrine. Japan actively engages relevant sectoral bodies in ASEAN, particularly in human resource development and policy developments in public health, labor, social welfare, and media information literacy.”
According to him, the long-established relations between Japan and ASEAN have driven innovation and helped integrate micro, small and medium enterprises sector into global value chains.
“There is greater security cooperation in counter-terrorism and a wider support for a Drug-Free ASEAN. There is also an intensified interaction with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity,” the President added.
Meanwhile, Duterte said the regional bloc is looking forward to the signing of the ASEAN-Japan Technical Cooperation Agreement which will further promote and increase cultural exchanges.
“The Philippines appreciates Japan’s commitment to ASEAN centrality. As active partners for greater peace, security, and stability in Southeast Asia, we remain open to discussions on the regional structure, which include the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, with a view to enhancing ASEAN centrality,” he concluded.