Press Release
May 4, 2012

Drilon leads Japan-PHP parliamentary meet

Senator Franklin M. Drilon underscored the need for closer parliamentary cooperation between the Philippines and Japan to discuss key issues affecting the relationship of the two countries.

In his opening speech during a Bilateral Meeting between the Philippines and Japans' parliamentarians held today at the Manila Hotel, Drilon highlighted the long-standing good relations that the members of the Philippine Congress and the Japanese National Diet have built.

Since 1988, Drilon said the Philippines-Japan Parliamentarians Association (PJPA) which he heads and the Japan-Philippines Parliamentarians' Friendship League (JPPLF) led by its president, Hon. Hajime Ishii, who led the Japan contingent, have been conducting parliamentary exchanges crucial to building and maintaining a healthy relationship between the two countries.

"Our meeting today not only marks a milestone in our parliamentary relations but it also provides an important parliamentary dimension to the strategic partnership forged by President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda last year," said Drilon, "Our dialogue today aims to contribute to this endeavor."

"This is the testament to the heart-to-heat or 'kokoro-to-kokoro' relations we built with our Japanese friends," said Drilon.

He added that Japan is not only "an important ally of the Philippines in the Asia-Paicifc region, but is also its top trading partner." Proof to this, he said, is the ratification of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), which, according to Drilon, may have its first general review this year.

Drilon also expressed gratification over Japan's unyielding support to the Philippine government having ranked as the country's largest official development assistance (ODA) provider, accounting for around 60 percent of total ODA received.

Moreover, Drilon gave emphasis to the problems limiting the entry of Filipino nurses and caregivers in Japan which he would discuss with the Japanese officials.

Drilon also acknowledged Japan's commitment to maintaining peace and order and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

"The Philippines believes in the capacity if Japan in helping bring development and peace in the world and we welcome Japan's role in the International Monitoring Team and the International Contact Group which is helping bring peace and development in Mindanao," explained Drilon.

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