Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Japan Foreign Minister Taro Kono signed the exchange of notes for the Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao (RNDP) in Davao City last Sunday.
KJ Rosales/File
P433 billion aid from Japan to improve peacekeeping, infrastructure
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - February 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — More Japanese-funded projects are expected to benefit Filipinos in the next three years, particularly those in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, an official of the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Assistant Press Secretary Natsuko Sakata, director of International Press Division, said the $202-million road network project in Mindanao is one of many being funded by the Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Japan Foreign Minister Taro Kono signed the exchange of notes for the Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao (RNDP) in Davao City last Sunday.

“The Japanese government is deeply involved in the Mindanao peace process,” Sakata told a select group of journalists in Makati City.

Apart from the road development project, Sakata said her government is also assisting in the vocational training of former combatants, as well as in the area of capacity building.

Other projects in the pipeline include social safety net for the people to promote inclusive growth, social infrastructure, healthcare promotion, as well as rehabilitation of former drug users.

In 2017, Japan offered a one-trillion-yen (approximately P433 billion) aid package for the Philippines in the next five years to promote economic and infrastructure development.

Metro Manila subway

The Japanese government aims for the Metro Manila subway project, which is also being funded through a grant from JICA, to be partially completed by 2022, the last year of the Duterte administration.

An official of the Japan embassy in Manila said the Japanese company which was awarded the P356-billion Metro Manila Subway Project submitted its proposal to the Department of Transportation last December 2018, but this has yet to be signed.

The subway project is expected to start in the first quarter of this year and will be fully completed by third quarter of 2025.

Equipment for police

Meanwhile, the Japanese government yesterday donated equipment to the Philippine National Police to boost the PNP’s operational capabilities.

The equipment worth 500 million yen or P210,000 consists of six bomb suits, six ballistic shields and 440 units of ballistic helmets.

Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda witnessed the ceremonial turnover of the equipment at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

Haneda said the donation is part of Japan’s development assistance to boost the PNP’s capabilities to combat  terrorism, illegal drugs and other criminal activities, which President Duterte included in his campaign platform.

“As we challenge violent extremism in the region, it is more crucial than ever that Japan and the Philippines work together to enhance our collective capabilities,” Haneda said in his speech.

Equipping police officers with the necessary tools is important as it would enable them to fulfill their tasks in dangerous situations, he added.

“The PNP should take pride in the fact that it has accomplished a great deal in terms of counterterrorism and drug enforcement operations,” Haneda said. – With Emmanuel Tupas

INFRASTRUCTURE JAPAN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGENCY PEACEKEEPING
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