Honorable Ramon B. Magsaysay，Jr;
Honorable Carlos Jericho Petilla, Governor of Leyte;
Honorable Mimietta Bagulaya, Vice Governor of Leyte;
Honorable Remedios Petilla, Mayor of Palo;
Distinguished Veterans and Guests;
Distinguished Colleagues of the Diplomatic Corps;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a great honor for me to join you all today in the commemoration of the 68 th Leyte Gulf Landings. Standing on the shore for today's ceremony, let me first of all pay my greatest tribute to all those who had fought and fallen, and express our heartfelt apologies and deep sense of remorse for such a tragedy.
We have learned the lessons of history. Japan was reborn as a peace loving nation since the end of the last world war. The people of Japan fiercely support our constitution which denies war as sovereign right of the nation.
At the same time, I also reflect on this podium how the relationship between the former opponents has changed. In this context, I am deeply moved by the noble spirit of reconciliation and the sense of fairness of the Filipino people.
This year, 2012, is the 56th year of the normalization of diplomatic relations between our two countries. We have seen the expansion of our cooperation ranging from trade, investment and economic cooperation to political partnership, security and cultural and human exchanges.
A good example of our continuous contribution is the Mindanao Peace Process, such as the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development, known as J-BIRD, dispatch of personnel to the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and participation in the International Contact Group (ICG).
So, Japan heartily welcomes the signing of the Framework Agreement after many years of negotiation between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
While there are many challenging yet to face, I wish to underline our commitment to peace-building in Mindanao.
I am truly confident that Japan and the Philippines will work more closely together to overcome the many challenges we face and ultimately to bring about peace and prosperity for all.
Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat!