PH EMBASSY WELCOMES NEW ASEAN-JAPAN CENTRE SECRETARY GENERAL
22 September 2021 – The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo welcomed the appointment of Dr. Kunihiko Hirabayashi, who assumed his post as Secretary General of the ASEAN-Japan Centre (AJC) on 1 September. Visiting the embassy on two separate occasions, Secretary General Hirabayashi exchanged views with embassy officials on “re-imagining the future of the AJC” especially as ASEAN and Japan celebrate their 50 years of relationship in 2023.
Ambassador Jose C. Laurel V recognized the important role the AJC plays in promoting ASEAN to Japanese stakeholders and vice versa, and hoped that AJC will continue implementing programs to support the Philippines and ASEAN member countries towards inclusive growth, a high-trust and resilient society, and a globally competitive knowledge economy. “With the Philippine Development Plan as our country’s guide, we see AJC supporting and complementing our policies and actions towards “facilitating transition into the new normal, fostering adaptive recovery and building socioeconomic resiliency,” Ambassador Laurel stated.
Deputy Chief of Mission Robespierre L. Bolivar, who serves as Chair of the Council Directors at the AJC, agreed with Secretary General Hirabayashi on the need to review and revisit AJC programs and activities for a “more unified approach in promoting ASEAN-Japan relations.” “While AJC has been an excellent platform for ASEAN embassies in Tokyo to feature the best that our countries can offer in terms of trade, tourism and culture, we also need to have more people-to-people linkages and active engagements with the youth,” DCM Bolivar added.
Established in 1981, AJC’s mandate is to promote trade, investments and tourism between ASEAN and Japan. The Philippines currently chairs the Executive Board and Council Directors Meetings of the AJC.
Top economic officials highlight bright prospects of Philippine economy before Japanese investors
Over 300 Japanese investors attend virtual Philippine Economic Briefing
The Philippines’ top economic officials highlighted the country’s nascent economic recovery and bright medium- and long-term growth prospects before more than 300 guests from Japanese corporate and financial institutions.
During the virtual Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) for Japan held last Tuesday, the country’s central bank governor, as well as the secretaries of finance, socioeconomic planning, and trade expounded on the government’s efforts to push the Philippines toward a strong economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis within the short term, and further toward a much stronger and more inclusive economy in the post-COVID era.
At the same time, the Philippines’ ambassador to Japan highlighted the two countries’ strong bilateral ties and encouraged the audience to consider the Philippines’ bright prospects and the various investment and trade opportunities that the country offers.
The PEB aims to drum up Japanese investments in the Philippines that will add momentum to the country’s recovery process.
“The Philippines aims not only to regain what was lost from the COVID crisis. We want a “post-COVID-19 Economy” that is stronger, more technologically advanced, more sustainable, and more inclusive than ever before,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said in his presentation.
Diokno said the BSP is actively pursuing a “post-COVID-19 Economy,” such as by promoting financial digitalization and sustainable finance. He added that the BSP’s commitment to maintain price stability and a stable financial system helps provide an enabling environment for businesses to prosper. Japanese investors are welcome to do business in the Philippines and take advantage of opportunities in the financial sector, the BSP Governor said.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua expounded on the Philippines’ economic recovery program and gave more details on the country's infrastructure program in his presentation.
"Together with the continuous roll-out of our vaccination program, infrastructure will be key in driving economic recovery, restoring confidence, and bringing back jobs. We wish to thank Japan, the Philippines' largest bilateral development partner, for its continuous support for the Philippine government's ‘Build, Build, Build’ program" Secretary Chua said.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez presented developments in the country’s fiscal sector, including the recent enactment of a landmark law rationalizing the country’s corporate tax and fiscal incentives regime.
The Finance Secretary explained that the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law provides an immediate 10 percentage point cut in the corporate income tax rates of micro, small and medium enterprises, from 30 percent to 20 percent. The rest of the corporations enjoy a 5-percentage point reduction, from 30 percent to 25 percent. In addition, he added, the CREATE law provides flexibility in granting fiscal and non-fiscal incentives. This introduces an enhanced incentives package that is performance-based, time-bound, targeted, and transparent.
“There is much economic energy waiting to be unleashed in the coming period. Our recovery will get a boost with the implementation of the CREATE law. This is the largest economic stimulus program for businesses in our recent history,” Secretary Dominguez said.
“Through CREATE, we see an opportunity to draw in high-value investments by incentivizing industries that will introduce new technologies and innovations, and create more jobs,” he added.
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez presented investment opportunities in the Philippines for Japanese and other foreign investors during his presentation. He also highlighted the valuable economic partnership between the Philippines and Japan.
“Japan has been a strong and important trading partner and investment source of the Philippines, especially in the areas of electronics and medical devices. Last year, Japan was our country’s second major trading partner, our top export market, and our second biggest import source. This continued for January to June 2021, as Japan was our second major trading partner with USD 10.34 billion of trade, an increase of 21 percent compared with the same period in 2020 with USD 8.56 billion,” Secretary Lopez said.
Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V cited the productive relations between the Philippines and Japan.
“Our bilateral and regional work continues in various sectors, such as infrastructure development, trade and investment, defense, security, and maritime cooperation, science and technology cooperation, human resource development, and assistance for Mindanao, to name a few,” the Ambassador said in his remarks.
“We hope that through this briefing, the spotlight on the Philippines will continue, specifically on its economic performance and reforms,” the Ambassador added.
The PEB for Japan was organized by international and Japan-based Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (including SMBC and SMBC Nikko Securities), together with the Philippine Embassy in Japan, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (central bank of the Philippines), and the Philippines’ Department of Finance, National Economic and Development Authority, and Department of Trade and Industry.
During the event, officials from SMBC Group cited the benefits of doing business in the Philippines.
Mr. Yasuyuki Kawasaki, Chairman Representative Director of SMBC Nikko Securities, said “Even amid the pandemic, Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) assigns an A- credit rating to the Philippines, reflecting strength of the Philippine economy. At the same time, with SMBC Nikko as arranger, the Philippines successfully issued its first zero-coupon Samurai bonds earlier this year. This shows confidence of Japanese investors on the Philippines, which is among the most important issuers in the Japanese debt capital market.”
Mr. Ryuji Nishisaki, Senior Managing Executive Officer and Co-Head of Global Banking Unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, said, “SMBC Group considers the Philippines as one of the most important countries under our ‘expand franchise in Asia’ strategy. Since we opened a representative office in the Philippines in 1975, we have been providing financial services to Japanese and local customers through our long-standing co-operative relationship with Metrobank. We also acquired shares in RCBC in July this year. Going forward, we will continue to contribute to the economic growth of the Philippines, such as by helping our Japanese clients to invest in the country.”
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. operates a bank branch in Manila (SMBC Philippines), while SMBC Nikko Securities served as sole lead manager for the Philippine government’s Samurai bond issuance last March.
For inquiries, please contact:
Michelle V. Remo
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)
+63 928 501 8423 (SMS, Viber, and WhatsApp)
"The PEB livestream may still be accessed through Post’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PHLinJapan/videos/660052104972122."
Philippine Ambassador Welcomes the Philippine Paralympic Delegates in Tokyo
Philippine Ambassador Jose C. Laurel V and Deputy Chief of Mission Robespierre L. Bolivar welcome the Philippine Paralympic Delegates to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games at a meeting held at Tokyo Prince Hotel on 25 August 2021. In attendance on behalf of the entire Philippine contingent were Philippine Sports Commissioner Arnold Agustin, Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) President Michael Barredo, and PPC Officer-In-Charge Maria Tina Tricia Rana.
Following the remarkable performances of Philippine athletes at the recently concluded Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, Ambassador Laurel said, “On behalf of the women and men of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo and the Consulates General in Nagoya and Osaka, I wish our Philippine Paralympic athletes success as they seek to continue our country’s historic winning streak in the Tokyo 2020 Games. You are an inspiration to all of us. Your amazing triumphs in sports highlight the immense contribution that our kababayans with disabilities have made to lifting the pride of the Philippines in the world stage. I am sure the entire Filipino community in Japan join me in cheering our athletes to victory! Mabuhay kayo!”
Commissioner Agustin and PPC President Barredo presented Ambassador Laurel with official tracksuits in appreciation of his support to the Philippine Paralympic Delegation.