Japan offers Philippines aid for rebuilding, fighting terrorism

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte won pledges from Japan of help with fighting terrorism and assistance in building the country's crumbling infrastructure, as he met with Japan's prime minister on Monday during a visit to the country.

Japan promised its support in the reconstruction of the strife-torn southern Philippine city of Marawi. A military campaign recently ended a five-month siege of the city by ISIS group-aligned militants that left more than 1,100 combatants and civilians dead.

"I fully support your fight against terrorism, and will continue to offer you as much assistance as possible," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Duterte.

The two leaders also agreed to co-operate on various projects, including a subway system for metropolitan Manila, the traffic-jammed capital, energy development, maritime safety and the Philippines' fight against drugs and drug trafficking.

The assistance from Tokyo includes 15.9 billion yen ($140 million) in low-interest financing for a water management project in the Philippines' flood-prone Cavite province, Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Apart from his talks with government officials, while in Tokyo Duterte is due to meet with Japanese business leaders and have an audience with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

He praised Japan as a "true friend of the Philippines" and said he would seek as much help as possible from Japan in rebuilding Marawi and the surrounding region.

The siege in the southern Philippines displaced some 400,000 residents, including the entire population of Marawi. Military airstrikes, artillery and heavy machine gun fire turned the lakeside city's central business district and outlying communities into a smoldering wasteland of disfigured buildings and bullet-pocked mosques and houses.



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