By Antonio Colina IV
Davao City – President Duterte said the country will seek the assistance of the Japanese government in the rehabilitation of the Marawi City, emphasizing that the failure to rehabilitate the besieged city “could have grave consequences for Mindanao and for the entire country.”
In a media briefing shortly before leaving for Japan from Davao City on Sunday evening, Duterte said the country would need “their very best in their assistance” to help rebuild Marawi in the aftermath of war between government troops and terrorist Maute Group that lasted for nearly five months since May 23.
“I think the damage alone and the dimension of the destruction, we would tell Japan that we need their very best in their assistance. And I do not doubt that Japan can graciously give us the help that we — of course, we do not expect that Japan would solve all the problems for us. But I — I would see significant assistance, considering, I said, the dimension of the destruction,” he said.
The President said terrorism and extremism had been the centerpiece of the meeting among the world leaders in trying to eliminate the ideology “which knows nothing except to destroy and kill.”
Duterte thanked the Japanese government for their timely assistance in addressing the threat of terrorism and violent extremism. He said China has also sent equipment to Marawi.
“And I have something for you about money and the things that would…But I have to talk to the Cabinet first. That would be maybe Monday when I come back. I have to seek clearance also and the concurrence of the Senate if we could.
In his scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Duterte disclosed he will discuss ways on how to significantly advance the already strong and strategic bilateral partnership between the two countries, specifically on matters involving socioeconomic development, peace and progress in Mindanao, and the buildup of modern infrastructures in the country.
Duterte said he and Abe will also discuss how to deal with regional and global security concern “if it gets worse.”
“One is security of the regional threat and of the entire world. We had been in discussion, together with the rest of peace-loving neighbors and even I had the chance to talk to (US Defense) Secretary James Mattis,” he said.
The President added he will discuss with him on lowering the imposition of taxes on fruits from the Philippines, which include, banana, pineapple and mango.
The President will also meet other high-ranking Japanese government officials, influential business leaders, and Emperor Akihito.
“As we sustain these efforts, we have to act with other nations who share the same values and aspirations that we hold dear, and work together towards lasting peace, security and stability,” he said.
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