DOF to seal Mindanao road project this month

By Chino S. Leyco

The Department of Finance (DOF) said the Duterte administration expects to seal a loan agreement with the Japanese government this month for a road project aiming to improve transportation capacity and efficiency in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

 Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III (Bloomberg photo) Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III (Bloomberg photo)

In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that Japan and the Philippines may sign a $202.04-million loan agreement later this month for the road network development project in conflict-ridden areas in the country’s southern region.

Once signed, the Philippines’ concessional loan from Japan will finance the construction and improvement of the access roads to arterial roads which will improve accessibilities and linkages to main cities in Mindanao.

The loan is under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which the DOF expects to be sealed during the 8th session of the high-level joint committee meeting between Philippines and Japanese officials on June 18 at the New Clark City in Pampanga.

The meeting was scheduled to resume discussions on the progress of Japan-funded infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program and other areas of economic cooperation between Manila and Tokyo.

Dominguez and Socioeconomic and Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia will again chair the Philippine side.

The Philippines and Japan high-level joint committee first convened in March 2017 as part of the Duterte administration's efforts to fast-track the rollout of its 75 big-ticket projects under the "Build, Build, Build."

To date, the Philippines secured nine loan agreements with Japan between October 2016 and January this year with a combined amount of JPY398.82 billion, about $3.63 billion or P189.92 billion.

Among the key infrastructure projects under the Japanese finance are the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Rehabilitation, Metro Manila Subway — the single biggest venture under the "Build, Build, Build" program.