Japan lends $202 million for road network project in Mindanao

Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - June 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine and Japanese governments are expected to sign this month a $202.04 million loan agreement for the improvement and construction of roads in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement, the DOF said the government is looking forward to finalizing a $202.04 million financing deal with the Japanese government for the implementation of the road network development project in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

The signing is expected to be conducted during the next meeting of the Philippines-Japan high-level joint committee on infrastructure development and economic cooperation, which will be held in New Clark City, Pampanga on June 18.

The road network development project aims to enhance the transportation system in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao through the construction and improvement of access roads to arterial roads,  according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

JICA said this is expected to improve accessibilities and linkages to the main cities in the region, ease the flow of commodities and boost economic activity in the region.

Manila and Tokyo already exchanged notes for the loan agreement last Feb. 10.

This will be the 8th meeting of the Philippines-Japan high-level joint committee on infrastructure development and economic cooperation since it was first convened in March 2017.

The joint committee meets regularly line with both government’s goal of fast-tracking the rollout of Japan-funded projects under the Duterte administration’s Build Build Build program.

For its next meeting, the DOF said the two countries would resume discussions on the progress of projects financed by Tokyo and explore other potential areas of economic cooperation.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia will lead the Philippine side, while Hiroto Izumi, special adviser to Prime Minister Shinz? Abe, is expected to head the Japanese delegation.

Citing data from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the DOF said Japan still remained as the top provider of official development assistance (ODA) loans to the country, with loans amounting to $6.13 billion as of the end of December 2018.

This accounted for 47.51 percent of the total ODA loans the country received during the period, the DOF said.

Japan also ranked as the fifth largest provider of ODA grants, contributing $106.76 million or 4.45 percent of the total grants received by the country as of December 2018.

Dominguez said Tokyo had extended Y398.82 billion (about $3.63 billion or P189.92 billion) worth loans to Manila from October 2016 to January 2019, alone, covering the implementation of nine projects.

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