Benefits of Japan, Brazil visits cited
Manila (29 June) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo arrived today from her weeklong trip to Japan and Brazil, bringing with her the proverbial bacon to Juan de la Cruz.
The four-day, three-city state visit to Brazil, netted five bilateral agreements and a joint statement between the Department of Agriculture and the Brazilian Association of Girlondo Breeders.
Two of the accords focus on agricultural and commercial cooperation. The others are on Bioenergy Cooperation between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil; employment remuneration for dependents of diplomatic, administrative and technical personnel; and biofuel development between the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and Brazil's National Confederation of Industry.
In Brasilia, Brazil's capital city, she met with her Brazilian counterpart, President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and discussed ways and means to enhance bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and Brazil, and people-to-people linkages.
In Japan, Trade and Industry Minister Toshiro Nikai expressed satisfaction over the implementation of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), saying he is optimistic about its smooth implementation. He added that Japan will support the promotion of tourism exchanges between Filipino and Japanese youths.
Nikai said study grants from Japan, to be sourced from ODA funds, will be provided for four-year courses, the graduates of which will be allowed to work in Japanese companies.
Other gains from the four-day trip to Japan include:
A Y1,013,000,000.00-Grant Agreement between the Philippine Government and JICA for the Flood Disaster Mitigation Project in Camiguin Island. The accord was signed by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Ralph Recto and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) President Dr. Sadako Ogata.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was also signed by Finance Secretary Margarito Teves and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) President Hiroshi Watanabe under which JBIC guarantees the floatation of up to $1 billion yen-dominated foreign (Samurai) bonds in the Japanese capital market in the next two years through the Philippines' Department of Finance (DOF).
Japanese companies, including Toshiba, Marubeni and Tokyo Electric, Toyota, Sumitomo, and Mitsubishi UFJ also made firm commitments to invest and/or increase their investments in the Philippines.
Marubeni Corporation, one of Japan's largest trading companies, has committed $500 million for the expansion of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2; and $100 million for the Air Traffic Control Project Package 1 that will provide new communications, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management systems to Philippine airports.
MRT 7, a private-sector project of Universal LRT Corporation (ULC), was awarded the contract for the build-operate-transfer (BOT) project by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC). The project cost, which was estimated to reach $1.5 billion, will be funded by JBIC buyer's credit.
Other commitments reached during the President's visit include the supply of high performance construction and machinery for large-scale infrastructure development and mining operations; supply of agricultural machinery for increased agricultural productivity and improvement of food self-sufficiency. (PIA) [top]