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Japan backs Mindanao peace initiatives



Japan has pledged to continue supporting the peace and development initiatives in Mindanao following the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono lauded the approval of the BOL and offered Japan’s support to the Philippines during a courtesy call on President Duterte in Davao City last Saturday.

Kono arrived in the country Saturday for an official visit until Feb. 11 to strengthen bilateral relations between Japan and the Philippines.

“During their meeting at Matina Enclaves in Davao City, President Duterte said he is honored that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is in his city,” Malacanang said. “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,” it added.

Kono also relayed Japan’s sympathy to the victims of the two explosions that hit the Jolo, Sulu Cathedral last month.

The Commission on Elections earlier declared that the law creating the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was deemed ratified following the recent plebiscite. Duterte earlier campaigned for the “Yes” vote for the BOL, saying it would help bring genuine peace and development in the region.

While in the President’s home town, Kono was also expected to attend the inauguration ceremony of the Japanese consulate general.

“He said Japan is pleased to be able to open up a new consulate general in the City of Davao,” Malacanang said.

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

Kono was scheduled to hold talks with Locsin to tackle areas of mutual interest, including political, economic, and people-to-people engagement, especially Japan’s support for infrastructure development and for Mindanao in the wake of the ratification of the BOL, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. (Genalyn Kabiling)