Duterte Mourns Demise of ‘Good, Loyal Friend’ Abe

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a joint press statement in Tokyo in 2019
Image Credit: Reuters via The Japan Times

MANILA, Philippines – Past President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his grief over the sudden death of Japan’s past prime minister, Shinzo Abe.

News of Abe’s shooting while giving a speech in the city of Nara shocked the world in the morning of July 8. The death of Japan’s longest-running prime minister to date was then declared on the same day late in the afternoon. He was 67.

Former Communications Secretary Martin Andanar first delivered Duterte’s statements regarding Abe’s passing, quoting the former president in saying that “Abe was a good loyal friend, a staunch supporter of my administration.”

Andanar added that Duterte and his wife Honeylet Avanceña are “deeply saddened with the untimely passing” of the ex-prime minister and that Abe, according to Duterte, is a “great man” remembered for his “compassionate service and remarkable leadership.”

Then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe receives from President at that time Rodrigo Duterte a Philippine eagle stuffed toy during his visit to PRRD’s home in Davao City. | Image Source: AFP via South China Morning Post

Duterte’s official Facebook page has then posted his statement on the unfortunate news.

“It is with deep regret and profound sadness that I learned of the untimely demise of my dear friend, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” the statement began.

Duterte extended his sincerest condolences to Abe’s wife and family and condemned the “senseless act of violence” done against the world leader.

Recalling that Abe was the only foreign leader to visit his home for a two-day stay in Davao City during his term as president, Duterte said, “For this, I will always hold him close to my heart and cherish the moments we have shared together.”

Duterte ends by saying, “It is my hope that, as we remember his legacy, we will continue to learn and draw from his dedication to duty and remarkable leadership moving forward.”

Under Shinzo Abe’s administration, Japan committed JPY1-trillion financial assistance for Duterte’s administration’s Build, Build, Build projects and its other priority programs; projects aimed at maintaining peace and spurring development in Mindanao, including the rehabilitation of Marawi City were also given importance.

A Rappler article has also cited that “as of June 2018, a little over 40% of the Official Development Aid (ODA) received by the Philippines were from Japan. That was equivalent to $6.1 billion” for PH’s economic and welfare development.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Japan included Filipino citizens and workers who have been residing in their country for at least three months in the list of those who qualify to receive a JYP100,000 subsidy (around PHP47,000).

Along with their donations of Astrazeneca’s Covid-19 vaccines, a loan of P23.5 billion was also given to the Philippines for its pandemic response, with lenient terms, making the loan payable in 15 years with a 4-year grace period, with a fixed interest rate of 0.01% per annum.

Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Image Credit: Shutterstock via The Young Witness

“I think it is the responsibility of anyone involved in politics to always think of what Japan can do to contribute more to the peace and stability not just of Japan and the region but of the entire world.”

— Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-running prime minister

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