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Envoy cites PHL's role in reconstructing Japan

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In a gesture of solidarity, the Philippine government will play a role in the ongoing reconstruction of Ishinomaki City Hall through a donation that will be turned over by President Benigno S. Aquino III to its city mayor when he visits the Miyagi Prefecture on Monday, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez said.

Ishinomaki City is among the areas that were severely devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami off the Pacific coast of Tohoku region in the eastern part of Japan, where there are also quite a number of Filipinos residing there, Lopez said in an interview.

“I think it is only fitting that the Philippines play a role in the reconstruction of that area," Lopez said.

According to Lopez, The President would be giving donation to the Mayor of Ishinomaki for the reconstruction of their city hall that was devastated by the tsunami.

“So makikibagay tayo with the local community and at the same time I think, the President, magpapasalamat din siya to the local officials for taking care of our nationals who were affected by both the earthquake and the tsunami,” he said.

Lopez said the President also recommended that some of the assistance that the Philippines managed to extend Ishinomaki City earlier, like the doctors, be kept to further aid our citizens until their complete recovery from the trauma brought by the tragedy.

“Talagang kailangan na kailangan nila and since marami tayong mga kababayan doon, nakakatulong na rin sila hindi lang doon sa ating mga nationals kundi pati na rin sa mga Japanese na nangangailangan din ng tulong ng mga psychologists natin,” Lopez said.

Apart from medical support, the Philippine government has extended other forms of assistance to Ishinomaki City right after the quake, like relief goods that include bottled water, blankets and other items for those who were displaced.

Lopez described the relationship between Japan and the Philippines as “a very special” one, adding that “it is probably at its best right now” since Japan is the biggest contributor of official development assistance funds to the Philippines.

“[They] are also the biggest foreign direct investors in our country, and even as employers of Filipinos in the Philippines, sila na siguro ang pinakamalaki ngayon sa bansa natin of all the different countries. So, napakaimportante ng role ng Japan sa ating bayan ngayon plus, it goes without saying that Japan is the host country of 220,000 Filipinos or probably even more, who now reside in Japan…, who call Japan their home,” he said. (PNA)




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