Philippines, Japan to hold talks on infrastructure deals

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and Japan will hold another high-level meeting to discuss the status of infrastructure partnerships and how to speed them up moving forward.

The Department of Finance yesterday said the two countries will convene the Philippines-Japan High Level Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation through a video conference on Feb. 16.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III will chair the Philippine side, while Mori Masafuni, the special advisor to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, will lead the Japanese delegation.

The joint panel will tackle the accomplishments reached by the government in completing some of the infrastructure projects financed by Japan. Updates on ongoing public works like the Metro Manila Subway Project and North-South Commuter Railway, and rehabilitation efforts such as on Metro Rail Transit Line 3 will also be discussed.

The two camps plan to talk about how financing can be improved in accelerating measures to recover from the pandemic. Likewise, the Philippines will report on developments reached in Japan-funded programs supporting the Mindanao peace process.

In 2017, the joint committee agreed to convene in Tokyo to settle how the two countries intend to move forward in its partnerships on economic cooperation and infrastructure buildup.

Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe committed to extend one trillion yen, about $9 billion, in funding packages to bankroll programs and projects embarked on by the Duterte administration until 2022.

Abe then ordered the establishment of the Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation to coordinate the assistance.

The financing commitment was completed in July 2021 under then-prime minister Yoshihide Suga, who served as the chief Cabinet secretary under former prime minister Abe’s term. On top of public infrastructure, the Japanese aid goes to initiatives to reconstruct areas in Bangsamoro devastated by the armed conflict.

Through various international groups, Japan provided the Philippines with an emergency grant worth $13 million in January. The funding was directed for the humanitarian assistance activities for the victims of Typhoon Odette that destroyed communities mostly in Visayas and Mindanao.


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