By Ali G. Macabalang
Mindanao’s highest Japanese envoy has visited General Santos City to enhance collaborative links with various host sectors, including mainly the Mindanao State University (MSU) autonomous campus and the local government unit (LGU) in the city, officials told the Philippine Muslim Today news.
Davao City-based Consul General Miwa Yoshiaki came on March 18 and 19, spending the first day of his visit in a courtesy call with Gen. Santos City Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera and a tour on at least four bunkers built by his country’s soldiers during World War II, according to Dr. Anshari P. Ali, chancellor of the MSU-GSC autonomous campus.
Chancellor Ali said he tasked Dr. Anderson Villa, head of the MSU-GSC campus’ Office of International Affairs (OIA), to guide the Japanese envoy to the fisheries industrial spots in the city that have been yielding huge tuna supplies exported mainly to Japan.
Consul General Miwa was amazed by the well-preserved concrete defense bunkers built by Japanese troops in WWII, which the city government’s tourism council is currently developing into tourist spots, Ali said, citing Villa’s report.
The visiting envoy spent his second day of sojourn fully at the MSU-CSC campus, visited the fisheries laboratory of the academic institution and received a briefing from MSU-GSC officials on their undertakings on linking up with local and international communities including Japan, Asian and Arabian nations, and Europe.
At the briefing-lecture forum, the Japanese envoy spoke about his country’s government thrust in helping conflict and poverty-affected communities like some parts of Mindanao, through institutional channels like the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), it was learned.
The MSU-GSC officialdom hosted a dinner meeting with the visiting envoy and his party in the evening of March 19.
On March 25, Consul General Miwa sent a letter to Dr. Ali to “express my gratitude to you for the warm welcome you accorded me during my visit…on March 18 and 19,” adding the “visit and discussion were all informative and productive.”
He Japanese official also thanked Dr. Anderson Villa, an alumnus of the decades-old Japan-Philippine scholarship exchange program, for assisting him during my visit to the “Japanese bunkers and to the MSU Fisheries laboratory.”
Mr. Miwa said he wished to meet again the MSU-CSC officials “in the future for more collaboration and projects.”
Last March 3, Chancellor Ali and Consul General Miwa jointly hosted a webinar in commemoration to the 100th year anniversary of the establishment of the Japan Consular Office in Davao City. AGM