High-level Philippine and Japanese officials are set to resume discussions on the progress of Japan-funded infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program and other areas of economic cooperation between Manila and Tokyo when they meet this month at the New Clark City in Pampanga.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Economic and Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia will again chair the Philippine side while Dr. Hiroto Izumi is expected to lead the Japanese delegation to the meeting.
Set on June 18, 2019, this meeting will be the 8th session of the high-level joint committee since it was first convened in March 2017 as part of the Duterte administration’s efforts to fast-track the rollout of its 75 big-ticket projects under the President’s signature initiative “Build, Build, Build.”
Japan and the Philippines are expected to sign on the same day the US$202.04 million loan agreement for the Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao.
Dominguez said nine other loan agreements with Japan were signed between October 2016 and January 2019 with a combined amount of JPY398.82 billion (about US$3.63 billion or P189.92 billion), which are for the following projects:
1) Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard (Phase II);
2) Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship Supportive of Peaceful Transformation (HARVEST);
3) Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project;
4) Arterial Road Bypass Project (Phase III) in Bulacan;
5) New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project (II);
6) Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Rehabilitation Project;
7) Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project (Phase IV);
8) North-South Commuter Railway Extension Project (1st tranche of loan); and
9) Metro Manila Subway Project (Phase I), which is the single biggest venture under the “Build, Build, Build” program.
Japan remains to be the No. 1 provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans totaling USD6.13 billion (47.51 percent share of the total ODA loan), and the No. 5 provider of ODA grants amounting to US$106.76 M (4.45 percent share of the total ODA grants) as of December 2018 (according to the latest data generated by NEDA on April 25, 2019).