Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Japan reiterates support for lasting peace in Mindanao
PILAR, Bataan-Learning valuable lessons from history, Japan has shifted gear from being a Philippine adversary to an ally in pursuing peace and prosperity, particularly in Mindanao.
In his speech during the 72nd Araw ng Kagitingan rites today, Japanese ambassador Toshinao Urabe said that the two nations are now strategic partners sharing common values.
"We are proud of and are committed to continue our contribution in peacekeeping efforts in Mindanao. Japan will continue to contribute proactively to the peace, stability and prosperity, not only for this region, but also for the international community," Urabe said.
The ambassador also reiterated President Aquino's remark during the signing ceremony of the comprehensive agreement on the Bangsamoro which says "Japan plays a consenting role on the progress of the Mindanao peace process,"
Among the initiatives of the Japanese government in Mindanao include community development by constructing schools, clinics, wells and training facilities, while at the same time promoting human resources development.
In addition, it is also working for economic development geared towards sustainable development through cooperation focused on agriculture, mining and manufacturing, and large-scale infrastructure development among others.
Aside from this, it should be noted that exchange of visits and contacts between the two nations continue on a regular basis.
"Our soldiers were working shoulder to shoulder in the UN peacekeeping operations at the Golan Heights prior to the Syrian crisis," concluded Urabe.
History recounts that on April 9, 1942, approximately 78, 000 Filipino and American soldiers stationed in Corregidor and Bataan formally surrendered to the Japanese army under Lt. General Masaharu Homma.
These prisoners of war were transferred to Camp O' Donnell, Capas, Tarlac in what would infamously be known as the "Bataan Death March".
The Dambana ng Kagitingan was built on top of Mt. Samat in 1966 in memory of those soldiers.
The shrine's most distinct feature is 92-meter Memorial Cross which is made up of marble, steel, and concrete. (Marie Joy L. Simpao)
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