Stronger RP-Japan ties boost development efforts

PIA Press Release 2007/06/13

Stronger RP-Japan ties boost development efforts

Iloilo City (13 June) -- Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Ryuichiro Yamazaki averred that bilateral relationships between the two countries “are better than ever before.”

Yamazaki joined President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the inauguration today, June 13, of the New Iloilo Airport of international standards located in the municipality of Cabatuan. Aside from the new Iloilo Airport, the government is also set to complete seven other airport projects that would further boost tourism, investment, trade and agriculture.

The Japanese government provided the bulk of the funds that went into the construction of the airport to the tune of P6.3 billion from a special yen loan agreement signed in 2000 by the Philippine government and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). The total cost of the project amounted to P8.759 billion including the Philippine counterpart.

Citing the closer bilateral ties, Yamazaki vowed that Japan shall continue to help in strengthening the Philippine economic structure towards sustainable growth.

The two governments have come up with a bilateral agreement called the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) that calls for the promotion of closer economic ties between the neighboring countries. Japan is presently the country’s second biggest trade partner.

He said he is happy to note that the Philippine government decided to push through with the airport facility as it would help Iloilo meet the growing demand for air transport in the island of Panay.

He cited recent statistics which showed that the old Iloilo Airport had the fourth biggest volume of passengers last year next to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the international airports in Cebu and Davao.

The Japanese ambassador said the presence of “a new and more efficient airport” will boost economic activities that would “contribute to the improvement of the quality of lives of many Filipinos in Panay Island and other surrounding areas.”

He also considered the completion of the airport as another success story of Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Philippines in cooperation with the Philippine government’s efforts towards poverty alleviation and mitigation of regional development disparities.

He said the project is one of the examples of the comprehensive partnership between the Philippines and Japan towards promoting our bilateral relationships which are better than ever before.

Existing diplomatic and trade ties between the two governments have resulted in the implementation of various joint projects in the Philippines in the areas of agriculture and support infrastructure.

The inauguration signaled the start of the commercial operations of the new airport starting June 14 and the closure of the old Iloilo Airport in Mandurriao district.

After the inaugural program, President Arroyo also inducted into office the new officers of the Regional Association of National Government Executives (RANGE) led by PIA6 Director and ADG for Visayas, Atty. Ma. Janet C. Mesa. (JSC/PIA 6)

Cabatuan, Iloilo, Philippines - Timeline 2007