DAVAO CITY — Breaking protocol formalities, President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were more cordial as the two shared the traditional Filipino food and delicacies, including the host’s favorite mongo bean soup.
At past 9 a.m., the Japanese Premier arrived at President Duterte’s simple abode in Dona Luisa Subdivision clad in white polo shirt with short sleeves. President Duterte wore his signature plaid polo shirt.
They had a photo souvenir in front of the President’s house and were greeted by neighbors.
Mr. Abe toured the house of the President who showed the Japanese leader his bedroom and the famous mosquito net, said Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go.
At breakfast, the two shared biko (sticky sweet rice), suman and kutsinta (rice cakes), puso ng saging (heart of banana) salad, buko juice and Earl Grey iced tea for drink. The Prime Minister even had a taste of the President’s favorite mongo bean soup or “mongos” to the Bisaya (Visayans).
It was also a rare occasion when Mr. Duterte woke up early to welcome his important guest. Go said that the three of them went to the second floor of the President’s house where they exchanged gifts as souvenirs.
Prime Minister Abe said President Duterte’s house was one of the places he wanted to visit in Davao City. He and First Lady Akie arrived in Davao City around 9:40 on Thursday night.
From Mr. Duterte’s house, the two leaders motored to the Waterfront Hotel for the meet and greet event and the naming of the Philippine Eagle.
At lunch time, the Japanese premier and Mrs. Abe were treated to Davao’s pride and considered the king of fruits – the durian. There was also the Davao pomelo.
Mr. Abe and his delegation capped their Davao visit and left the city at past noon Friday.
The visit of the Japanese prime minister marked a stronger Philippines – Japan partnership.
Japan has committed to support the creation of business opportunities in the Philippines worth approximately 1 trillion yen over the next five years, including a Japanese development assistance and private investments for the Philippines.
This was announced on Thursday night by Japanese Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura, who said that to realize this 1 trillion support to the Philippine economy, Japan would establish a joint committee on economic cooperation and infrastructure and would also send experts to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).
Japan will also contribute to infrastructure development such as in transportation and electric generation by taking advantage of Japanese technology.
The Japanese government is also committed to helping spur the development of Davao City and the conflict-affected areas through support in irrigation, road construction, power generation and education.
To strengthen the security of the country and its anti-terrorism efforts, Japan will provide security-related equipment, according to Kawamura. Lilian Mellejor/PNA-northboundasia.com