Tanabata Fest celebrates PH-Japan ties
BAGUIO CITY—The Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) joins Japan-Philippine associations, local government and academe in Northern Luzon in marking the 60 years of Japan-Philippines diplomatic relations.
Sixty years since Japan and the Philippines formally established their diplomatic relations, Japan has become a key Philippine development ally and strategic partner.
“Jica’s development cooperation initiatives in the Philippines continue to reinvigorate the long-standing friendship of Japanese and Filipinos. Even when times are tough, Japan and the Philippines have supported each other,” said Jica chief representative Susumu Ito at the opening of the Tanabata Festival this week.
After the 1990 earthquake in Baguio, Jica supported the Philippine government’s reconstruction efforts by helping rehabilitate access roads including the Marcos Highway in 1991 and Cordillera Road in 1999. The rebuilding of Baguio and its road conditions eventually stimulated the local economy, making it the busy center of trade, tourism, and education that it is today.
The Jica chief likewise reiterated Jica’s support to the growing economic activities and enhanced connectivity in Northern Luzon through its official development assistance for the construction of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.
Aside from socio-economic infrastructure, JICA also dispatched its first early volunteers in Northern Luzon under its Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers Program. In 2015, a Japanese volunteer who used to work with local farmers collected donations of cherry blossoms and sent them to Benguet farmers as a reminder of Japan-Philippines friendship.
JICA’s various cooperation activities are also showcased in the festival via an exhibit called Building Tomorrow at the Baguio Museum highlighting Japan-Philippines partnership for sustainable development.