THE Philippines and Japan exchanged notes on two official development assistance (ODA) projects geared towards enhancing defense and transport capabilities at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda signed the Grant Aid of the Government of Japan to the Philippines on Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) UH-1H Parts and Maintenance Equipment to the Philippine Air Force (PAF); and on the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) Rehabilitation.
In his remarks, Locsin noted how Japan has supported the Philippines’ development objectives.
“Throughout the years, Japan has vigorously and unfailingly supported the priorities of the Philippine government for the wellbeing of the Filipino people—and in particular through economic and development assistance as well as in enhancing our defense and security capabilities. It is help that has no agenda but friendship, decency, and a deep and abiding regard, as much for the safety and wellbeing of neighbors, as for oneself,” Locsin said.
“This is why we have elevated our relationship with Japan to a strategic partnership. Today’s Exchange of Notes affirms this ever-growing, mutually beneficial and gratifying relationship between our two countries and our two peoples,” he added.
For his part, Haneda reflected on the successes of Philippine-Japan partnership, and how it remains to be committed to its “joint work.”
“With the signing of these two projects, let me assure you that we do not only mark our commitments on paper, we also pledge our all-out efforts in bringing these projects into successful completion,” Haneda stated.
The Grant Aid on UH-1H parts and maintenance equipment to the PAF, involves Japan’s grant of some ¥10.68 billion (P5 billion) worth of spare parts and maintenance equipment of UH-1H helicopters by the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) consisting of the following categories: airframe structure; dynamic power system, control system; rotor system; hydraulic system; electrical system; instrument system; accessory equipment; and others.
The UH-1H helicopters are used in the PAF’s activities related to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, transport, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Meanwhile, the Project on the MRT-3 rehabilitation involves the complete rehabilitation of MRT-3 to restore its design capacity and reliability, the general overhaul of MRT-3’s entire fleet of 72 Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs), and day-to-day maintenance.
The ¥38-billion (around P17.79 billion) loan facility will be used to cover the railway line’s trains, power supply system, overhead catenary system, radio system, closed-circuit television system, public address system, signalling system, rail tracks, road rail vehicles, depot equipment, elevators and escalators and other station-building equipment.
The Project will have a duration of 43 months, with the rehabilitation to be completed in the first 26 months, and the general overhaul to be completed by the 43rd month.
The exchanges of notes were witnessed by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorezana, Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, Finance Undersecretary for the International Finance Group Atty. Mark Dennis Joven, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-Tokyo Senior Vice President Yasushi Tanaka, JICA-Philippines Chief Representative Yoshio Wada and officials from the DFA, the Departments of Finance, Transportation, and National Defense, the Japanese Embassy and JICA.
Japan is the Philippines’ top ODA partner and has contributed significantly to the country’s development and capacity building measures in areas that include infrastructure, security, health, trade, tourism, human resources, agriculture, education, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, among many others.
The two countries celebrated the 60th anniversary of the normalization of their diplomatic relations in 2016.