Japan and the Philippines in Talks Regarding Projects
To check out the progress of the Japan-funded projects under the government’s Build-Build-Build program, Philippine and Japan officials are set to meet via a video conference call.
These projects include the North-South Railway Project, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) Rehabilitation Project, the Metro Manila Subway Project (Phase I), the Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Construction Project, and the Davao City Bypass Construction Project.
Also part of their agenda includes discussing updates from both sides on the Philippines’s Covid-19 response efforts, the safety of the workers and other people involved in the construction of the project; the Philippines sharing developments on the Mindanao peace process; the ongoing rehabilitation of Marawi City; and the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Meanwhile, Japan will provide updates on the ongoing assistance to Mindanao under the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) and other programs that can provide economic growth to the autonomous region.
Before the pandemic, both officials have already convened in Tokyo in March 2017 and in Hakone in December 2019. Since the Duterte administration, a total of 15 loan agreements have already been signed between the two parties - worth JPY679.3 billion (approximately P317 billion or $6.24 billion), 11 projects under the Build-Build-Build program of the government. These agreements also involve two loans amounting to JPY100 billion for the Philippines’s Covid-19 response.
As of June this year, Japan has already made grant commitments worth around $10.1 billion which represents 38.53 per cent of the country’s total ODA portfolio - with ODA loans amounting to $10.03 billion (40.77 per cent of the country’s total ODA loans), and grants totalling $69.45 million. These amounts make Japan the largest ODA provided to the Philippines.