February 28, 2018
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) chief representative Susumo Ito-san; members of the JICA delegation; Secretary [Ernesto] Pernia, Secretary [Mark] Villar, fellow workers in government:
Allow me to begin by thanking JICA for the support you have extended to the Arterial Road Bypass Project. This is a 24.61-kilometer road connecting the North Luzon Expressway in Balagtas, Bulacan with the Maharlika Highway in San Rafael, Bulacan. It will bypass the town proper of Plaridel and urban areas of Pulilan, Baliuag, and San Rafael (all in Bulacan) along the existing Maharlika Highway.
The first two phases of this project, signed in 2004 and 2012 respectively were both financed under Japanese ODA loans and involved a total of 10.9 billion yen or roughly 96.5 million US dollars.
Phase 1 was completed in November 2012. The signing of the third tranche of the loan is timely as Phase 2 is nearing completion and is expected to be inaugurated in May of this year.
The third phase of the project, with the same generous financing terms, involves the upgrading and expansion of the existing bypass road from 2-lanes to a 4-lane carriageway national road in Bulacan that links the NLEX in Balagtas to the Pan-Philippine Highway in San Rafael.
The loan agreement amounting to 9.4 Billion Yen or about 89 million US dollars, carries an interest rate of 1.5% per annum for non-consulting services and 0.01% for consulting services, with a maturity period of 30 years, inclusive of 10-year grace period.
The areas linked by this bypass road are among the most dynamic and therefore most congested. These are towns hosting new industrial estates and numerous agribusiness enterprises. The bypass road will complement the food route supplying Metro Manila. It is a vital link in the food chain highly appreciated by the population of Bulacan province.
In a word, an economically worthwhile investment. It symbolizes the economic calculation, immediacy of impact and long-term multiplier effects that we wish to see in all the Build, Build, Build projects.
This is only one of several key infrastructure projects to be financed by JICA. We assure you efficiency in the use of the loans and urgency in the implementation of the projects.
We are grateful for the generosity of the Japanese people through JICA and the Japanese government as well as the strong support you have extended to us at this key juncture in our own economic emergence.
Thank you and good day.