By Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA – The Philippines is looking at the possibility of partnering with Japan regarding its ongoing self-defense reliant posture (SRDP) program.
This came after Japanese Ambassador to Manila Koshikawa Kazuhiko paid a courtesy call to Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Thursday.
“Both officials explored the possibility of collaboration on the development of the Philippines’ SRDP through research and development (R&D) on defense equipment, systems and other related technologies, as well as expertise exchange,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement Friday.
Both officials also agreed to advance the security partnership between the two nations.
“Secretary Teodoro thanked Japan for being (a) partner in the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) Modernization Program through the ongoing Air Surveillance Radars Project with the Philippine Air Force (PAF). He likewise expressed his heartfelt appreciation for Japan’s assistance in responding to the oil spill incident which affected communities in Regions IV-B and VI,” Andolong said.
The DND chief also welcomed Japan’s Official Security Assistance (OSA), of which the Philippines was among the grantees.
Teodoro also expressed gratitude for the progress in the Philippines and Japan’s defense relations.
This was made apparent during the signing of the Terms of Reference (TOR) on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) activities between the two countries during President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s state visit to Japan last February.
“Secretary Teodoro noted the progress of defense relations between the Philippines and Japan since his former stint as the SND (Secretary of National Defense) from 2007-2009. The Secretary recalled that his first assignment at the time was to organize the 2009 ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Voluntary Demonstration of Response (VDR), a multilateral HADR event wherein Japan was among the participants,” Andolong stressed.
Meanwhile, Koshikawa lauded the close and robust partnership between the two countries.
Recalling World War II, the Japanese diplomat manifested his high regard for the Filipinos’ spirit of forgiveness and expressed hope that the strong bilateral ties between the Philippines and Japan could be a “force for good” and “best tribute for those who died during the war”. (PNA)