Front Row: Honorable Chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy Adolfo Azcuna, Ambassador Makoto Katsura, Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Honorable Chief Justice Reynato Puno. Back Row: Honorable Former Chief Justice Andres Narvasa, Honorable Mayor of Tagaytay City Abraham Tolentino, Honorable Former Chief Justice Panganiban.
With Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura attended the inauguration ceremony of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) Training Center in Tagaytay, Cavite Province, on May 7, 2010. Also in attendance were Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, former Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa, and former Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban. The PHILJA Training Center was funded by Japan through the Counter-value Fund, amounting to 300 Million Pesos, which the Philippine Government accumulated by selling the commodities procured under Japan's Non-Project Grant Aid for the Philippines.
The PHILJA Taining Center was constructed to house necessary facilities for training such as auditorium, lecture rooms, computer room, conference rooms, the library, staff offices, dining area and lodging rooms. The new facilities will strengthen PHILJA's capacity to perform its mandate of providing continuing legal and judicial education to justices, judges, court personnel, lawyers, and aspirants for judicial posts. Before this training center was constructed, PHILJA had to use an old building which was originally a recreation club and did not have sufficient training facilities and equipment.
Thus, the Training Center fully equipped with facilities for training will contribute to the enhanced function of the judicial branch of the Philippine Government as it directly benefits the increasing number of justices, judges, court personnel and lawyers from all over the country. In addition, the entire Filipino people will also benefit from a more efficient administration of justice as a result of the enhanced training now available in the PHILJA Training Center . Furthermore, it is now a new landmark of Tagaytay City and is supposed to generate more job opportunities for the city's population.
Japanese Ambassador Katsura mentioned in his speech at the inauguration ceremony, “I wish to express my sincere hope that the PHILJA Training Center will become another symbol of the cooperative ties between Japan and the Philippines which will further nurture the strategic partnership of the two countries.”
The Counter-value Fund has enabled the Philippine Government to implement various projects for its socio-economic development. Notably, in addition to the project to construct the PHILJA Training Center, the Counter-value Fund projects include the project to distribute personal computers for public high schools nationwide (PCs for Public Schools Project).
Japan has been the top ODA donor to the Philippines for many years. Japan 's Non-Project Grant Aid and its Counter-value Fund projects will firmly continue to support the Philippine Government's initiative to reduce poverty and improve its economic structure, and will further enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Speech of Ambassador Makoto Katsura