Jica assures PH of funding support for projects despite pandemic
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japanese government has committed to continue providing official development assistance (ODA) to the Philippines, especially for big-ticket infrastructure projects, its aid arm Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) said.
“Jica remains committed to support the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program under the initiative of both the Philippine and Japanese governments, even more so during these difficult times when sincere cooperation among partners is very much needed,” Jica Philippines new chief representative Eigo Azukizawa said in an email to the Inquirer.
“While we are deeply concerned about the impact of this pandemic not only in the Philippines and Japan but across the world, we are taking it as an opportunity to further strengthen our collaboration moving forward to deliver on our commitments,” said Azukizawa, who earlier served as senior Jica representative in the Philippines in 2013-2015.
“We have made assurances to the Philippine government that Jica will remain responsive to its needs despite the current situation and will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders in our projects even as we discuss possible adjustments in the execution of our vital infrastructure programs,” Azukizawa added.
“As for our support for the health sector, we are not able to mention a specific project or program for the moment. As longtime friends of the Philippines, however, we are always willing to cooperate with our Philippine partners,” he said.
Of the 100 flagship projects included in the P4.4-trillion Build, Build, Build pipeline, 49 projects worth P2.3 trillion will be financed by ODA from bilateral development partners like Japan as well as multilateral lenders.
As of March last year, Japan was the Philippines’ biggest source of ODA loans and grants amounting $8.3 billion, or 46 percent of the total.
The 26 loans extended by Japan for Philippine projects and programs had a net commitment worth $8.2 billion, while 11 grants amounted $106.8 million.