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PH, Japan reaffirm strong development partnership

Japan and PH

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the agency in charge of administering Government of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), is committed to continue support the Philippines wide ranging infrastructure program focused on socio-economic development.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. met with JICA President Dr. Tanaka Akihiko wherein the bilateral agency leader reaffirmed continuous commitment to facilitate the steady implementation of ongoing and future economic cooperation projects in the Philippines as one of the top beneficiaries of ODA from Japan.

On his five-day official visit in Tokyo, Japan upon the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, President Marcos was joined in the February 10, 2023 meeting with the JICA Head by members of his official party including former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri; House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez; Senator Mark A. Villar; and Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan and Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

In light of the “Build Better More” program, the administration of President Marcos intends to maintain strong ties with Japan to provide game changing infrastructure projects designed to better the lives of the Filipino people.

Japan and PH

Meanwhile, President Marcos reported at the Philippine Business Opportunities Forum at the Palace Hotel Tokyo a promising Philippine economic performance and wooed top Japanese business leaders to seize emerging investment opportunities in the country.

The Philippine economic team of Department of Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno; Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe M. Medalla; Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman; National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan earlier discussed the Philippine economic performance and outlook at the Philippine Business Opportunities Forum.

In a panel discussion on the topic infrastructure and industry at the forum, DPWH Secretary Bonoan together with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina Garcia Frasco, and Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista explained some of Philippines massive infrastructure development initiatives taking off from “Build Build Build” program efforts of the previous administration and continued and expanded into “Build Better More” agenda under the President Marcos administration.

President Marcos and Prime Minister Kishida in their meeting concurred on working toward early loan provision for the construction of the Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road, the Central Mindanao High-Standard Highway, and the Second San Juanico Bridge which have available completed feasibility studies under JICA grant.

The leaders also affirmed the viability of utilizing the private-public partnership (PPP) scheme in future cooperation for the construction or operation and maintenance of roads; and long-span tunnels & bridges in the Philippines, given the opportunities to leverage the technical expertise of Japanese companies. Both President Marcos and Prime Minister Kishida expressed hope for further implementation of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) of October 2022 for the construction and operation and maintenance of tunnels and related facilities.

On resilience-building against natural disasters and adaptation to climate change, Japan is committed to further support works for the Pasig–Marikina River, preparation of the Parañaque Spillway, and formulation of new projects based on a prospective Davao Flood Control Master Plan to address the issue of frequent floods.

At present, some of the Philippines’ biggest infrastructure projects supported by JICA under DPWH portfolio and implemented by the Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) operations headed by Senior Undersecretary Sadain are the widening of 23-kilometer Arterial Road (Plaridel) Bypass Project Phase 3 in the Province of Bulacan; improvement and maintenance of about 1,184-kilometer of arterial national roads under Road Upgrading and Preservation Project (RUPP); 30-kilometer Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) Project from the connection of Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) in Balingcanaway, Tarlac City and ends at the Daang Maharlika Highway in Cabanatuan City; construction of a four lane – 45.5-kilometer Davao City Bypass Construction Project including twin tube road mountain tunnel project that will be the longest in the Philippines at 2.3 kilometers.

The Islamic City of Marawi has benefited from a 2-billion yen grant for the design and build of 18.97-kilometer Marawi Transcentral Road Phase 1 under the Programme for the Support to Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Marawi City.

Japan and PH

In support of the government’s peace-building initiatives, JICA is also financing the Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao (RNDP-CAAM) involving the development, construction, and improvement of about 174.50-kilometer access roads connecting Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and other regions in Mindanao including another 18.78-kilometer Marawi Transcentral Road Phase 3.

Japan thru JICA has also committed to support the construction of Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Construction Project, which is now under detailed engineering design stage.

To protect flood-prone areas and strengthen the resilience to climate change, four sub-projects were completed under the Flood Risk Management Project for Cagayan River, Tagoloan River, and Imus River.

On-going flood control projects are the channel improvement works for Middle Marikina River including the construction of Manggahan Control Gate Structure and construction of Cainta Floodgate and Taytay Sluicegate at the joining sections of Cainta and Taytay rivers to Mangahan Floodway under the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project Phase IV; Flood Risk Management Project for Cagayan De Oro River; and Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project.

The Japanese government is also extending financial support for the construction of interchanges on major intersection in Quezon City under the Metro Manila Interchange Construction Project, Phase VI (MMICP-VI) and the Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project to strengthen the resiliency of transport network in Metro Manila by improving the durability and safety of Guadalupe and Lambingan Bridges against large scale earthquake.

The proposal to conduct feasibility studies for Liloan Bridge and Butuan Bridge to comprise the Phase II of Urgent Bridges Construction Program for Rural Development (UBCPRD II) has also been submitted for JICA’s consideration.

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