SUBIC BAY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Sunday visited Japan’s biggest warship and helicopter carrier JS Izumo, which is anchored at the Alava Pier, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in Olongapo City.
JS Izumo is in the Philippines for a goodwill visit.
Being the first head of state to set foot on the ship, President Duterte was accorded with military honors and warmly received by Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister Katsuyuki Kawai, Commander of Escort Flotilla One Rear Admiral Yoshihiro Goka, Commanding Officer of JS Izumo Capt. Yoshihiro Kai, and Commanding Officer of JS Sazanami Hirotaka Okumura.
The President and members of his entourage were given a shipboard tour by members of the Japanese delegation.
In remarks later, Duterte called Japan “a historical friend” with “a long history of helping us.” He said it was providing the Philippines frigates and trainer planes, among the country’s vital requirements for modernizing a military deemed ill-equipped to deal with external threats.
“If you go to Mindanao, you’ll find so many JICA (projects),” Duterte added, referring to the development projects funded by official development assistance coursed through Japan International Cooperation Agency. Japan has for many years been the Philippines’ top ODA partner.
Duterte said he knows “they will be with us for all time. They can count on gratitude for helping us; and also our friendship.”