By Wilnard Bacelonia

BOOSTING BILATERAL TIES. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is given a ceremonial reception by Honor Guards upon his arrival for a historic meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo on Thursday (Feb. 9, 2023). The two leaders have witnessed the signing of several bilateral agreements that cover cooperation in infrastructure development, defense, agriculture and information and communications technology during Marcos’ five-day state visit. (Photo courtesy of Office of the President)

MANILA – Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senator Christopher Lawrence Go have expressed confidence that the good partnership between the Philippines and Japan will continue to strengthen security ties and generate more economic opportunities for Filipinos.

With President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s five-day visit to Japan, Go said he is looking forward for more agreements between the two countries that will bring in investments and job opportunities to the Philippines.

Importante po sa ngayon ang ekonomiya at trabaho, and I’m sure marami pong madadala na investment po ang ating Pangulong Marcos para po makapagbigay po ng trabaho sa ating mahihirap na kababayan (What is important now is the economy and employment, and I’m sure President Marcos will bring home a lot of investments to provide jobs for our poor countrymen),” said Go in a statement Friday.

The senator likewise thanked Japan for all the assistance it has extended the country over the years.

“I’m sure ‘yung Japan naman, very supportive sa ating bansa noon pa man nung mga previous administration. Ilan sa mga proyekto natin dito, sila po ang gumagawa at sumusuporta (I’m sure Japan has been very supportive to our country even during the previous administrations. Several of our projects here were initiated and supported by them),” Go noted.

Meanwhile, Zubiri is pushing for a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with Japan.

“It makes strategic sense. Japan is an ally, and with ongoing territorial disputes over our waters, we stand to benefit from stronger security cooperation with our allies,” Zubiri said in an earlier statement.

“Japan is already offering vital support to our Coast Guard, not just through vessels and equipment but also through other capacity-building opportunities such as training. The VFA will strengthen our partnership even further,” he added.

He said that while, peaceful diplomacy remains as the country’s foremost move toward conflict resolution, the VFA will be able to empower our Coast Guard and Armed Forces in times of conflict.

“Apart from the VFA being crucial to building up our security and defense, it will also be massively helpful to us in times of natural calamities and disasters,” Zubiri said. (PNA)