Japan, PHL to ink subway deal in March

The Department of Finance (DOF) on Monday said the Philippines will be signing with the government of Japan the loan agreement for the first tranche of funding for the Metro Manila Subway Project (Phase 1) by March this year.

This is in line with the implementation of the joint commitments of both parties on major fields of bilateral cooperation.

During the fourth meeting of the Philippines-Japan Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation held at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort in Cebu, both sides agreed to work toward the partial operability by 2022 of the Metro Manila Subway Project (Phase 1).

“For bilateral cooperation, we look at Japan as our partner to compliment our infrastructure-growth strategies. By using Japanese technologies and expertise, we gain to build safe and resilient structures and communities. As we go along, we appreciate our discussion and become more focused and open, signifying our closer cooperation and strong commitment to a fast and sure project implementation,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said during the meeting.

Officials of both countries also bared that they are looking forward to the signing of the first tranche of the loan for the project by March. “The first tranche of the loan for the Metro Manila Subway Project is due for signing in March 2018.”

The Metro Manila Subway Project (Phase 1) is included in the 75 flagship infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration under its “Build, Build, Build” program.

Last month the Investment Coordination Committee announced that it has approved the additional funding for the Metro Manila Subway Project of around P1.3 billion, which will cover additional costs not originally estimated in the project. The project cost for the first phase of the subway project increased to P356.9 billion from the original P355.5 billion.

The Department of Transportation is planning to start the subway project by next year, and the Japanese government-financed project is expected to be completed in the year 2027.

Dominguez described the meeting on Monday as a “fruitful” one, as he underscored how Japan shares the Philippine government’s “great sense of urgency” to see shovels at the ground and complete the major projects at the soonest feasible time.

Japan, for its part, presented measures to fast-track project-loan processing and implementation, which include shortening the review period for procurement and providing grant support for the conduct of advance works for the detailed design of the projects.

The Philippine and Japan governments will also continue to have consultations at the working level to accelerate implementation and address challenges for the railway projects that were presented for Japanese financing.

“On the other hand, the Philippine side discussed the progress on the right-of-way acquisition and land resettlement, institutional arrangements on procurement, establishment of Project Monitoring Offices, budget allocation for government counterparts and measures to address cross-sectoral concerns,” he said.

During the meeting, both government’s signed three bilateral documents, including the Record of Discussions of the meeting; the Memorandum of Cooperation among the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp. for Transport and Urban Development and Surbana Jurong for the “New Clark City;” and the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Department of Information and Communications Technology and Japan Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications for the “Technical Assistance for the National Broadband Plan.”

Both governments are also looking forward to the signing of the Exchange of Notes for the grant financing for the Davao City Waste-to-Energy project, as well as the loan-financing packages for the Pasig-Marikina Channel Improvement Project (Phase  4) and the Metro Rail Transit Rehabilitation and Improvement Project “in the coming months and after all internal approvals are completed.”

For the Philippine National Railways (PNR) North 2 (Malolos-Clark) and PNR South Commuter (Manila-Los Baños) railway lines, both parties agreed to continue trilateral consultations on the co-financing of the projects among the Philippine government, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Asian Development Bank to achieve partial operations of the North-South rail section by 2022.

Following the “fast and sure principle” and the Philippine government’s initiatives to streamline processes, the DOF said it has secured all the necessary internal government approvals for the signing of the loan agreement for the Arterial Road Bypass Project, Phase III in Bulacan, and is expecting the signing “at the earliest possible time”.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced during his first visit to the country in January 2017 the Japanese government’s intention to contribute a total of ¥1 trillion, or $9 billion in official development assistance and investments to the Philippines for the next five years.

“In addition, the Japanese side expressed their sincere hope that the peace and order will be restored in Marawi as soon as possible and discussed the ongoing and additional assistance for Marawi City, as well as its continuing assistance for Mindanao peace and development,” he added.

Officials that attended the meeting also include: Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia; Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno; Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade; Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar; Eliseo Rio, Jr. of the DICT; National Security Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon; Undersecretaries Jesus Cristino Posadas of the Department of Energy and Falconi V. Millar of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council; and Vivencio B. Dizon, president-CEO of BCDA.

The Japanese delegation included Shigeru Kiyama, Special Adviser to the Cabinet; Director-General Kazuya Nashida, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Director-General Seiji Takagi, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication; Deputy Director-General Yasuhiro Yukimatsu, Cabinet Office; and Deputy Director-General Kazuhisa Kobayashi, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry;

Assistant Vice-Minister Koichiro Kakee, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; Director General Yasushi Tanaka, Japan International Cooperation Agency; Director-General Fumio Suzuki, Japan Bank for International Cooperation; and Ambassador Koji Haneda, Embassy of Japan also represented the Japan side.

Reference:

Cu, R. (February 12, 2018). Japan, PHL to ink subway deal in March. Business Mirror. Retrieved from https://businessmirror.com.ph/japan-phl-to-ink-subway-deal-in-march/

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