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Aquino, in Tokyo, Wins Pledge for $252-Million Energy Loan

November 11, 1986|Associated Press

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

The loan of 40.4-billion yen ($252.5 million) will finance construction of a thermal power plant south of Manila.

Aquino left Manila during rumors that disaffected military officers might attempt a coup against her nine-month-old government. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, armed forces commander, sent a message Monday afternoon saying that the "peace and order situation is very secure and stable," Aquino's spokesman, Teodoro Benigno, said.

Ramos made his statement after meeting in Manila with Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, who has sharply criticized Aquino, and the chiefs of the navy, air force, army and national police.

Forces on Alert

The Philippine armed forces have been put on alert, as they were during Aquino's two previous trips abroad.

Benigno said the emphasis during the 53-year-old leader's four-day visit will be on how Japan can help the Philippine economy, which is crippled by $26 billion in foreign debt accumulated under former President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Marcos, who governed the Philippines for 20 years, fled the country Feb. 26 after a military-civilian uprising.

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.

Aquino and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone issued a joint statement Monday saying they "shared the view that it is necessary to further support the efforts of the Philippines to overcome their economic problems."

'Serious Power Shortage'

Nakasone announced the loan for the 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 "the Japanese government is ready to consider making a commitment exceeding" the loan package it pledged last year, Benigno told reporters.

Before meeting with Nakasone, Aquino had a private talk with Emperor Hirohito, who formally apologized for Japan's role in World War II, when its troops occupied the Philippines, Benigno said.

"The president said that she told the emperor that he should forget about this, but he . . . wanted Japan to make up for the pain that they caused us," he said.

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