Japan reaffirms support for PH infra program

·2 min read

THE Philippines and Japan reaffirmed their strong economic partnership, especially in infrastructure development, during a courtesy call meeting between Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa.

“The Ambassador reiterated Japan’s continued support for the Philippines’ massive infrastructure program, the development of Subic Bay and Mindanao, and other sectoral cooperation in health, energy, agriculture, and ICT, among other areas,” Diokno said in a recent tweet, following his meeting with the Japanese Ambassador.

Japan’s financial contribution to the Philippines’ nation-building efforts under the Duterte administration reached JPY 1.38 trillion, well over the JPY 1-trillion mark committed by then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2017.

Japan is also the Philippines’ largest provider of official development assistance (ODA), which has committed loans and grants amounting to around USD 10.2 billion, or 31.8 percent of the country’s total ODA portfolio, as of December 2021.

Koshikawa said that the Japanese government appreciates the continuity of the Build, Build, Build program under the Marcos administration.

Under this administration’s Medium-Term Fiscal Framework, the government seeks to sustain infrastructure spending at 5 to 6 percent of GDP annually.

The Japanese government currently supports several big-ticket infrastructure projects including the Metro Manila Subway Project, North-South Commuter Railway Project, and Central Mindanao Highway Project, among others.

Japan is also supporting the development of the 4th Cebu-Mactan bridge.

In 2020, the Japanese and Philippine governments have formalized an agreement involving loans of two big-ticket projects, including this bridge. Both parties had signed and exchanged notes for the loan to build the fourth Cebu bridge which is estimated to cost 119 billion yen (P56 billion).

Diokno credited the success of Japan and the Philippines’ infrastructure development cooperation to the efforts of both sides in conducting the regular high-level meetings.

The High-Level Meeting of the Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation has become an effective mechanism of coordination that fast-tracked Japanese assistance consistent with the “Fast and Sure” approach. Diokno said the Philippines is eager to continue using this platform to push forward the fruition of more projects.

Aside from infrastructure development, Koshikawa said that Japan is eager to strengthen cooperation in maritime security, regional development especially in Mindanao, energy, health, agriculture, space development, and disaster response and management, among other areas.