Aquino optimistic Philippines will overcome Yolanda
by FFE PH News Staff
Before leaving for a summit meeting in Japan, President Aquino on Thursday announced that the Philippines will recover from the human tragedy and economic destruction brought by typhoon Yolanda and other calamities that hit the country this year.
The president said ‘As always, we will show to the world our ability to unite and rise during trying times. As a responsible member of the community of nations, we’ll continue to be part of the pursuit of our collective goal: to bring about a world where every individual and every nation has respect and concern for each other.’
He added that he will continue to lead the rebuilding even as issues continue to crop up on the relief and rehabilitation efforts in the Visayas.
Aquino is expected to deliver the same message in his visit to Japan to attend the 40th Asean-Japan Commemorative Summit. The summit will tackle the tensions involving Chinese claims on the West Philippine Sea, EastSea and Yellow Sea. Meeting with the Filipino community (Fil-com) in Japan was also on top of the president’s agenda for the three-day trip.
He said ‘One of our special objectives in coming to Japan is to meet with our countrymen. We all know that they have worries (over their families in the Philippines who have been affected by) past calamities. Thus, we will assure them of government’s resolve to speed up the rehabilitation and rebuilding of communities momentarily brought down by tragedies.’ The Philippine Barrio Fiesta executive committee chair Jenavila Shigemizu is also set to give the president Php500,000 as donation to the typhoon victims.
Visiting Japan will allow the president a chance to personally thank the country as it continues to help in the rehabilitation efforts in the Visayas. Aquino will meet with Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today.
Philippine ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez said ‘Japan has helped us so much, it is only fitting the president comes here to say “Thank you” to Japan. There is nothing wrong with the president coming here. I think it’s very important he shows the country’s appreciation. Remember, Japan is going to stay much longer than most other donor countries.’ He said that Japan is willing to extend more assistance should the Philippines need more aid.
Aquino also thanked Asean countries for their assistance during and after the typhoon, saying ‘Truly, during a difficult time, they made us feel that we’re not alone. This is the dividend of our honorable and robust dealings and relations with our allies and friends.’
During the trip, Aquino also plans to forge a defence and trade co-operation with Japan. The president will stand witness as Japan and the Philippines sign a post-disaster standby loan of $100 million, a loan for Philippine coast guard vessels worth $187 million, and an updated Philippines-Japan Air Services Agreement.
Executive secretary Paquito Ochoa Junior said ‘The participation of President Aquino in the Asean-Japan Commemorative Summit will further strengthen our relationship with Japan, a long-time ally and strategic partner in trade, tourism and labor.’ He revealed that the government is spending Php15m for the president and several cabinet members to participate in the summit.
The president is also scheduled to meet with the chancellor and president of SophiaUniversity who will give him an honorary doctorate in law.