Department of Justice chief OIC while Duterte on 3rd Japan trip

Menardo Guevarra

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra has been named officer-in-charge (OIC) while President Rodrigo Duterte is in Japan for Nikkei’s 25th International Conference on The Future of Asia.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed this in a text message Tuesday hours before Duterte was set to leave the country for his third visit to Japan.

Aside from attending the global conference, Duterte is expected to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reassert the Philippines’ commitment to upholding freedom of navigation in the disputed areas of South China Sea.

According to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Duterte’s visit to the East Asian nation would give the Philippines nearly P300 billion worth of investment deals, which would create 80,000 jobs for Filipinos.

Sixteen Cabinet members are expected to join President Duterte.

According to a list provided by Malacañang, the official delegation of the President includes Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

Also on the list are Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Acting Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr., Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo and Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Carlito Galvez Jr.

Duterte left yesterday afternoon for the 25th International Conference on The Future of Asia on Friday.

The President will also meet with Japanese businessmen and the Filipino community in Japan.

More than 20 business agreements worth nearly P300 billion will be signed by Philippine and Japanese firms during the President’s trip.

The investment pledges will be mostly in infrastructure, manufacturing, electronics, medical devices, and business process outsourcing, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.

They will also cover electricity, transport, automotive, food manufacturing, and marine manpower industries.

The DTI said the investment pledges would create at least 80,000 jobs.

Duterte previously visited Japan in October 2016 and October 2017.