The government’s economic team will be in Tokyo on September 25-26 to discuss with Japanese officials ways of speeding up the implementation of the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure projects for possible funding by Japan and separately brief potential investors on the vibrant prospects for the Philippine economy.
The meeting in Tokyo of the Philippines-Japan High-Level Committee on Infrastructure and Economic Cooperation will be the third such dialogue to be called since the first was held in Tokyo in March this year.
The second high-level committee meeting was held in July in Manila, where Secretary Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), who co-chairs, with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the committee for the Philippines, announced an indicative list of projects with an estimated total cost of P315.4 billion that were pipelined for possible Japanese financing.
According to Dominguez the third high-level committee meeting will focus on ways to speed up the processing and implementation of timelines of the flagship infra projects that are being eyed for possible Japanese financing.
“We want to discuss with them how we can fast-track the process of implementing the projects,” Dominguez said.
Besides Dominguez and Pernia, those expected to join the delegation are Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Secretaries Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); and Vivencio Dizon, president of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).
They are set to meet with Hiroto Izumi, a special advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who heads the Japan side of the high-level committee; along with officials from the Japan Ministries of Finance, of Foreign Affairs, of Trade and Industry, of Economy and of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; and officials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).
Pernia earlier said that the Philippines presented during the high level committee meeting in July the following projects for possible Japanese financing: 1) Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Phase II, 2) Metro Manila Subway Project Phase I, 3) Malolos-Clark Railway Project, 4)Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project, 5) Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project, 6) Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao, 7)Circumferential Road 3 Missing Link Project, and 8) the Pasig Marikina Channel Improvement Project (Phase IV).
Prime Minister Abe committed during his visit to Davao City in January 2017 a total of ¥1 trillion in official development assistance (ODA) and investments to the Philippines for the next five years.
While in Tokyo, the Philippine delegation will also hold a briefing on the Philippine economy with potential Japanese investors.
This briefing will be similar to the one held by Philippine Cabinet officials in Singapore last month.
In the economic roadshow, Dominguez is expected to tell investors about the Duterte administration’s plans to sustain the economy’s growth rate at seven percent or higher over the medium term through an ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program.
According to Dominguez, a sizable portion of the Duterte administration’s unprecedented infra spending, which will generate “an impressive multiplier effect” in the form of more jobs and investments, will go the country’s poorest provinces.
To enable the government to pursue this infra program, Dominguez has said the government is bent on seeking the congressional approval of its Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) that aims to improve tax administration and at the same time guarantee a steady revenue flow to support its high–and inclusive–growth agenda.
Dominguez said the Philippines’ economic strategy takes advantage of the country’s benign debt conditions, low interest rates, investment-grade credit ratings, and improvements in the ease of doing business that the Duterte administration will continue to enhance by streamlining government operations and cutting red tape.