Aquino brings home P150B in Japanese aid

PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino III returned to the country with P13.5 billion investment pledges and P136.9 billion loans from his four-day state visit to Japan.

The President was welcomed at the arrival area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday by Cabinet members, including Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Health Secretary Janette Garin and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez.

During the trip, President Aquino received P13.5 billion investment pledges from 11 companies which signed letters of intent to open or expand their operations in the Philippines.

The President cited clothing company Uniqlo, which currently has 22 outlets in the country, is planning to add 200 more shops.

He said the other companies are into manufacturing of electric tricycles, printers, smart glasses and medical devices such as aortic catheter, in vitro diagnostics and for hemodialysis treatment.

“In bringing their products to the Philippines, it is clear that the brightness and talent of the Filipinos are being recognized,” Aquino said, adding that some companies have expressed plans to make the Philippines their center of operations in the Southeast Asian region.

“Because we all know that if the products being created are higher in the value chain of products, salaries are also higher and it will be faster to attain progress and dignity in the lives of the Filipinos,” Aquino said, noting that the investment pledges can generate around 30,721 jobs.

The Philippines and Japan also signed agreements in health, maritime safety and trade as well as a concessional loan amounting to P136.9 billion huge infrastructure projects.

“The various agreements that we have signed with Japan also bring additional good news, particularly in the sectors of health, maritime safety, and trade,” Aquino said.

President Aquino and Japanese Prime Minister Abe also signed a Joint Declaration on Strengthened Strategic Partnership.

“The relations between our countries are truly depending in many sectors, including security. This heightening of relations with Japan is timely because of the threats to stability in the West Philippine Sea,” Aquino said.

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