By: Philippine Resources April 01, 2024

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is committed to address infrastructure challenges in the Philippines and build a more resilient and prosperous future under Bagong Pilipinas by further strengthening partnership with the Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

DPWH Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, in separate meetings with MLIT and JICA officials led by MLIT Vice Minister for Engineering Affairs Mikio Yoshioka and JICA Deputy Director General for Southeast Asia and Pacific Department Ms. Tanaka Yuko underscored the steadfast dedication of the Government of Japan to assist the Philippines in enhancing infrastructure landscape thru on-going bilateral cooperation.

The meetings held in Tokyo, Japan on March 22, 2024 were also participated by DPWH Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Project Directors Benjamin A. Bautista and Ramon A. Arriola III.

Among the Philippines key projects mentioned in the meetings are the 45.5-kilometer Davao City Bypass Construction Project and the proposed 60-kilometer Dalton Pass East Alternative Road Project in Cagayan Valley including consideration of Japan’s Public - Private Partnership model with emphasis on equitable financial and risk allocation for government and concessionaire in the future operation and maintenance of the two (2) infrastructure flagship projects under the President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. administration’s “Build Better More” agenda.

The meetings also highlighted concerns about ageing bridges, especially the San Juanico Bridge connecting Samar and Leyte Provinces, First Magsaysay Bridge in Butuan City, and the Serging Veloso Osmena Jr. Bridge formerly known as the 1st Cebu-Mactan Bridge in Cebu City; the rehabilitation of Efipanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA); and flood management system in the Philippines including Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project and Paranaque Spillway Construction Project.

In the continuous strides to achieve and maintain sustainability and resiliency, DPWH also supported a hybrid seminar in Japan on infrastructure maintenance organized by MLIT which was participated by more than 300 representatives from the DPWH and identified local and foreign construction and engineering groups from Japan and the Philippines.

The seminar was spearheaded by Senior Undersecretary Sadain and MLIT Deputy Minister Seiichi Onodera alongside the presence of various leading Japanese companies introducing highly advanced and upscale technologies specially designed for infrastructure maintenance, particularly on roads and bridges.

In his opening message, Senior Undersecretary Sadain expressed his gratitude to the Government of Japan for its long-standing partnership with the Philippines on numerous infrastructure projects through JICA, the implementing agency for technical cooperation of Japan’s official development assistance (ODA).

DPWH under the leadership of Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan has always remained persistent and committed to improving its policies and mechanisms, adapting to new and innovative technologies supplemental to fostering safe, resilient, and sustainable Philippine Infrastructures also rallying towards the DPWH INFRAgenda 2028.

MLIT Deputy Minister Seiichi Onodera expressed gratitude to the Philippine Government for the continued trust and recognition of Japan’s infrastructure developments and the interest in conforming to their country’s methods and practices, particularly in the maintenance of roads and bridges.

“We, at MLIT, take infrastructure maintenance very seriously, not only does it guarantee a safe and reliable foundation, but most importantly promotes economic growth, productivity, and resilience.”

DPWH UPMO Roads Management Cluster 1 (Bilateral) Project Director Bautista presented the current status as well as the challenges encountered in addressing the needs for preventive and extensive maintenance in infrastructures including the ageing bridges in the Philippines and the proposed new structure such as Second San Juanico Bridge under upcoming new JICA Loan Agreement.

Among the new technologies presented by EJ Innovation Technology Center under Eight-Japan Engineering Consultants Inc. include the utilization of underwater investigation tools, for instance, the autonomous unmanned survey and the autonomous underwater vehicle, an underwater mapping tool and facility survey that acquires various data on topography, like water depth, fixed height, passing point, and penetration angle.

Also included in the discussion was the report on the Japanese Infrastructure Maintenance Technologies Transfer Preliminary Study for the Republic of the Philippines administered by the JFE Engineering Corporation requested by the DPWH aiming to implement ageing bridge renewal engineering and technologies in the Philippines. The study encompasses the site survey of the deteriorated bridges, business matching with the NLEX Corporation to Japanese companies, and the Japan tour and exhibits on proposed technologies and technical institutes.

Other Japanese companies that presented their infrastructure maintenance technologies were IHI Infrastructure Systems Co., Ltd, Taiheiyo Cement Corporation, DataLabs, Inc., TOA Road Corporation, and Central Nippon Highway Engineering Tokyo Company Limited.

Moreover, it can be expected that more coordination meetings and seminars will happen this year between DPWH and the Japanese companies through MLIT-Japan regarding the infrastructure maintenance structure and technologies needed in the Philippines.

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