MANILA President Rodrigo Duterte's Cabinet members are part of the official delegation to Japan because their presence is necessary, MalacaAang said on Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V said that the trip to Japan was a reward for Duterte's Cabinet members.
Laurel, however, clarified that it should not be considered a junket because they were all invited by organizers to attend the 25th Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo from Thursday to Friday.
Panelo said the Palace did not share Laurel's position, stressing that the envoy could either be speculating or misinformed.
The good Ambassador may have been either innocently speculating for lack of information or may have been misinformed of the nature of the trip of the Cabinet members. The latter's presence is necessary, said Panelo in a statement.
Panelo emphasized that Duterte needed his Cabinet to give importance to Japan, the Philippines' second major trading partner, and enhance cooperation between governments.
This can be achieved by the constant dialogue by our Cabinet members with their counterparts in the Japanese government, who are, in various ways, involved in our country's significant transactions with Japan, he added.
Moreover, he said Filipino workers in Japan are also entitled to the presence of the Cabinet members as they help chart the course of governance that affect their lives.
Over 25 business agreements will be signed during Duterte's Japan visit that will bring about around PHP 300-billion investments in the country and a projected employment of at least 80,000 jobs, Panelo said.
He said Japan is also the Philippines' fourth biggest source market for tourism, a top contributor for infrastructure development, and has assisted with the peace and development efforts in Mindanao.
A total of 16 Cabinet members accompanied the President in his trip to Japan, according to a list released by MalacaAang. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency