Marcos thanks Japan for accepting 250K Pinoys, pandemic aid to PH

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. did not let the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit with Japan end without thanking the latter for its continued support to the Philippines and for hosting thousands of Filipinos.

President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. (Photo courtesy of the Office of the Press Secretary)

“I cannot end my remarks without expressing my appreciation for Japan’s hospitality and protection for over 250,000 Filipinos who now call Japan home,” Marcos said in his intervention during the 25th ASEAN-Japan Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Saturday, Nov. 12.

“They have been taken in by the Japanese people and have now found a place to live and work happily. For that we will always be grateful,” Marcos further said.

Aside from hosting Filipinos, the President also thanked Japan for supporting the Philippines weather the coronavirus pandemic, which, he said, shows the agility of the Philippines-Japan partnership.

“Our cooperation during the Covid-19 pandemic shows the agility of our partnership – we came to depend on Japan’s substantial assistance to the Covid-19 ASEAN Response Fund and to the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework,” Marcos said.

The chief executive also appreciated the country’s long-standing cooperation with Japan on disaster management, particularly Japan’s support for the AHA Centre or ASEAN Coordination Council for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management, through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund.

One of the recent highlight programs of the AHA Centre is the establishment of Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) satellite warehouses located in the Philippines and Thailand.

These satellite warehouses, together with the main DELSA warehouse in Malaysia, ensured the provision of speedy relief assistance to disaster-affected regions anywhere in ASEAN.

Marcos also encouraged Japan to continue its strong support and involvement in the programs of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity through the establishment and management of ASEAN heritage parks.

The President also said he looks forward to the continued implementation of the ASEAN-Japan Economic Resilience Action Plan, underscoring the importance of providing assistance and developing the resiliency of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Marcos also reiterated the Philippines’ full commitment to uphold regional peace and security, and welcomed the Quad’s assurance of unwavering support for ASEAN unity and Centrality.

Quad is a strategic security dialog between Australia, India, Japan and the United States.

He further stressed it is in the best interest of all involved to ensure that any activity in the region’s waterways adhere to the rule of law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to ensure peace, stability, and prosperity.

The regional bloc and Japan will celebrate next year the 50th ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit.