MANILA, Philippines – Flood management and drainage improvements, subway and road construction in Luzon, as well as developing New Clark City in Tarlac were among the projects discussed during the 6th meeting on infrastructure and economic cooperation between the Philippines and Japan on Wednesday, November 21.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III chaired the Philippine side, while the Japanese delegation was led by Hiroto Izumi, special advisor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Both sides also reaffirmed their commitment to ensure that the first phase of the planned Metro Manila Subway would begin operations by May 2022. This project will be funded by Japan.
Japan signs yen loans for Philippine railway and river improvement projects pic.twitter.com/mUnVY6nnP1 — Ralf Rivas (@RalfRivas) November 22, 2018
"The Japanese side requested the Philippine government expedite measures such as land acquisition and relocation of facilities," Dominguez said.
The planned subway is one of the most expensive projects under the government's Build, Build, Build program, with the first phase alone amounting to around $6.8 billion.
The consulting service contract for the Metro Manila Subway Project (Phase I) between the Department of Transportation and a Japanese consulting firm was signed after the meeting.
The two sides also inked and exchanged two documents on Japan's commitment to provide $1.82 billion in loans for a project designed to mitigate flooding in Metro Manila and another to build a railway linking Manila to Bulacan, Pampanga, and Laguna.
The exchange of notes for the ¥37.905-billion loan ($336.24 million) for the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project Phase IV and another for the ¥167.199-billion loan ($1.413 billion) representing the first tranche for the North-South Commuter Railway Extension Project were signed between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Japanese embassy after the meeting.
The joint venture agreement among the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development, and Surbana Jurong for New Clark City was also signed.
"The loan agreements for these projects were processed in record time, in keeping with the 'fast and sure' approach and speedy implementation of projects that we are undertaking with Japanese funding support," Dominguez said.
Japan has consistently been the top provider of official development assistance (ODA) to the Philippines. As of 2017, Japanese loans took up 36.5% of the Philippines' ODA portfolio. – Rappler.com