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Japan Pledges $250 Million in Philippines Aid

November 10, 1986|Associated Press

TOKYO — Japan pledged a low-interest loan of more than $250 million to the Philippines today, the first day of President Corazon Aquino's visit here, and her spokesman said there were indications of more aid to come.

The loan of 40.4 billion yen ($252.5 million) will finance construction of a thermal power plant in the Pacific archipelago.

Aquino left Manila at a time of rumors that disaffected military officers would attempt a coup against her 9-month-old government, but the armed forces commander sent a message this afternoon that the "peace and order situation is very secure and stable," spokesman Teodoro Benigno said.

Benigno said emphasis is being placed during the 53-year-old leader's four-day "good-will visit" on how Japan, an economic superpower, can help spur a Philippine economy crippled by $26 billion in foreign debt accumulated under former President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone announced the loan for a coal-fired thermal power plant "to cope with a serious power shortage in (the main island of) Luzon expected in the future."

He also told Aquino that "the Japanese government is ready to consider making a commitment exceeding" the loan package it pledged last year, Benigno told reporters.

Japan is second only to the United States in aiding the Philippines. It provided $80.8 million in grants and technical cooperation last year in addition to a $309-million loan package.

Before meeting with Nakasone, Aquino was welcomed in a formal ceremony and then had a private talk with Emperor Hirohito, who "kept apologizing for what the Japanese caused the Philippines during World War II," Benigno said.

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