SFA, Japan envoy sign Metro Cebu project for water management
FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. and Ambassador of Japan Koji Haneda exchanged notes on key projects in the Philippines and Asean in simple rites on July 23 at the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The two officials exchanged notes on official development assistance (ODA)-supported projects, specifically on the Septage Management of Metro Cebu Water District, as well as the regime of Privileges and Immunities for the Asean-Japan Technical Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
In his remarks during the event, Locsin pointed to a joint press event with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, where President Duterte paid high compliments to Japanese ODAs, as the Chief Executive called them the “gold standard” by which the Philippines reckons its development cooperation with other partners.
“None will dispute the tribute. Whether in terms of Japan’s reliability as a partner for bridging gaps in our infrastructure investment and financing needs, [concession] of terms, or the quality and impact of resulting projects, Japanese [ODAs are] unrivalled. Visible signs of the Philippines-Japan development partnership dot our cityscapes and the countryside,” the foreign affairs secretary underscored.
Benefiting from a Japanese grant with a provision of up to ¥2.052 billion, the project on the Septage Management of Metro Cebu Water District will address the widespread environmental pollution in the “Queen City of the South” caused by inadequate drainage treatment and illegal dumping of sludge into rivers, as the absence of septage treatment has also been a major public health concern because of groundwater contamination.
The project will reduce water pollution and waste, as well as improve waste disposal in Compostela, Liloan, Consolacion, Mandaue City, Cebu City and Talisay City, with large-scale waste treatment technology such as septic tank sludge treatment facilities and procured vacuum trucks in place. It is in consonance with the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan’s Water Quality Management objective.
It is expected to contribute to stable economic development by promoting proper household sludge treatment and improving water and hygienic environmental pollution.
Meanwhile, the TCA sets out the legal framework for the provision by the Japan International Cooperation Agency of direct assistance to Asean as an international organization, as opposed to assistance extended to individual member-states of the region.
The exchange of notes on the privileges and immunities of the TCA between Locsin and Haneda confirms the agreement by the two governments to have the privileges and immunities provisions of the counterpart bilateral agreement—the Philippines-Japan Agreement of Technical Cooperation of 2006—apply to the Philippines’s implementation of the Asean-Japan TCA. These privileges and immunities will be in effect chiefly to technical experts dispatched in connection with assistance projects.
Officials of the Metro Cebu Water District, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Japanese Embassy witnessed the exchanges of notes. DFA, Embassy of Japan-Manila