STRENGTHENING TIES. Vice President Sara Duterte shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a courtesy call on Monday (Sept. 26, 2022). Both the Philippines and Japan expressed commitment to further strengthening ties in the areas of infrastructure, education, agriculture, and long-lasting peace. (Photo Courtesy: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan)

MANILA – Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Tuesday sent prayers for the victims of Super Typhoon Karding (Noru), a day after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ahead of a state funeral for the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Duterte paid a 10-minute courtesy call on Kishida on Monday, as she reiterated the Philippines’ expression of profound condolences.

“At the outset, Prime Minister Kishida expressed his gratitude to Vice President Duterte for attending the State Funeral, and stated that he was impressed with the fact that both houses of the Congress of the Philippines have respectively adopted resolutions expressing sympathy on the passing of the former Prime Minister Abe,” the ministry said.

During the courtesy call, PM Kishida also vowed to maintain the strong relationship between Japan and the Philippines under the current administration.

“Prime Minister Kishida informed Japan’s decision to facilitate the improvement of agricultural and fisheries value chains and the collection of small arms and light weapons in Mindanao, as well as to render educational support for junior government officers of the Philippines to study in Japan,” it added.

Besides advancing the agriculture and education sectors, which the Philippines' two highest officials are concurrently heading, Japan also committed to “work(ing) together based on the Philippines' needs toward the establishment of an autonomous government in Bangsamoro in 2025.”

Duterte then expressed her gratitude for the long-standing relationship between both countries, particularly lauding Japan’s commitment to helping improve the infrastructure development in the Philippines, as well as achieve long-lasting peace in Mindanao.

Duterte also gave her condolences to the families of those who died after the onslaught of "Karding."

Duterte expressed her prayers despite being away from the country.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the people affected by Typhoon Karding in Luzon… The administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr is on top of the situation, with coordination between concerned national agencies and local government units done to ensure immediate response and efficient delivery of relief services to the people affected by Karding,” she said in another statement.

The Vice President is set to attend the state funeral in Nippon Budoka, Tokyo. However, she is yet to release a statement on her activities, including her engagement with the Filipino community in Japan. (PNA)