President Rodrigo Duterte gives a warm welcome to Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono who paid a courtesy call on the president at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City on Feb. 9, 2019.
Ace Morandante/Presidential Photo
Japanese foreign minister meets with Duterte
( - February 10, 2019 - 4:01pm

MANILA, Philippines — Japan's foreign minister met with President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City last Saturday and relayed his country's readiness to continue supporting development efforts in conflict-stricken Mindanao.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono made a courtesy call on Duterte at the Matina Enclaves as part of his three-day official visit to the Philippines, according to a Malacañang statement released Sunday. 

During the meeting, Duterte said he was honored to be visited by the Japanese official in the southern city. 

"Foreign Minister Kono, for his part, said Japan welcomes the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law. He also mentioned that Japan would like to continue to support the development of Mindanao," the Malacañang statement said.

The BOL will create a new autonomous region with greater control of natural resources in parts of Mindanao and with a bigger share in national government resources. 

Cotabato City, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan, except Isabela City, and 61 villages in seven towns of North Cotabato voted for inclusion in the soon-to-be-formed Bangsamoro region during plebiscites held last January 21 and February 6.

Isabela City in Basilan and the entire province of Lanao del Norte rejected the BOL during the plebiscites. Sulu also opposed the BOL but the province would still be included in the region because ARMM provinces are taken as one geographical unit.

Kono also expressed Japan’s sympathy to the victims of the twin blasts that rocked Jolo and left more than 20 people dead last month. 

Also on the agenda of the Japanese foreign minister's visit was the inauguration of the Japanese Consulate General in Davao. Kono said Japan is "pleased" to open a new consulate general in the city.

Kono was accompanied by Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda and Davao Consul General Yoshiaki Miwa. Also present during the courtesy call were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, and Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel.

The Foreign Affairs department has described the visit as "a testament to the strengthened strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan" and an affirmation of the two countries' longstanding bilateral friendship.

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