Singapore school
Representational picture Reuters

The Philippine primary education will be recipient of Japanese assistance worth USD 477, 444 to start building and rehabilitating school classrooms damaged by natural disasters in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda led the signing of grant contracts in Manila with school heads of different schools that will be included in the schools' construction program called Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GAGHSP).

Philippine public schools that will benefit from the program include Bagong Buhan Elementary School in Leyte, Sto. Nino High School in Bohol, Gomilla Elementary School in Negros Occidental and Bonifacio Elementary School in Surigao City. A total of 22 classrooms will be built in these identified schools.

Witnessing the signing ceremony was Education Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla of the Performance Monitoring Office and other education officials.

As a result of the growing diplomatic relations between Japan and the Philippines, Japan also committed to providing a 600 billion yen loan to construct a subway in Manila, river defences and rail infrastructure to address the worsening traffic problem in Manila.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo aso Abe said that Japan is also preparing to help rehabilitate in the post-conflict rehabilitation of Marawi City that displaced 300,000 people and damaged thousands of residential houses and business establishments.

"Japan recognizes that the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi are extremely important and as maritime nations, we share basic values and strategic interests," the Japanese government added in a press statement.

Japan has been expressing concern about China's growing military presence in Southeast Asia but many analysts see the Philippines can be an important country that can ease the diplomatic tension between China and Japan.

The Philippines has close ties with China while on the other hand it also has strong business and diplomatic relations with Japan. Duterte on several occasions has called Japan a long time friend of the Philippines and on the other hand, Duterte also announced he is realigning himself with China.