By Chino S. Leyco
The Japanese government has committed to help the Duterte administration in formulating the Philippines’ regional development master plan for Zambales, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.
In a statement, the DOF announced the signing of a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) between Manila and Tokyo signifying the latter’s commitment to provide technical support to the planned regional development master plan for Subic Bay and its surrounding areas.
According to the DOF, the Japanese technical aid for the master plan will “maximize the economic potentials of the Subic Bay and its surrounding areas.”
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, representing the Philippine government, and Hiroto Izumi, the Special Advisor to Japan Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, on behalf of Japan, signed the MOC last Friday.
The DOF said the signing ceremony was held on the sidelines of the 9th meeting of the Philippines-Japan Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation last week in Hakone, Japan.
Under the MOC, the Subic Bay Regional Development Master Plan may include possible projects in the fields of road network development, logistics terminal development, disaster risk management and the development of public utilities.
“The Philippine government may require cooperation from Japan, including Official Development Assistance (ODA) and other financial resources, for the implementation of the prioritized projects listed in the finalized Master Plan,” the MOC stated.
“Projects to be financed by Japanese ODA and other financial resources will be determined following a master plan survey and in light of both Governments’ priorities,” the document further read.
Japan first made known its commitment to provide technical assistance to the Philippines for the development of Subic and its surrounding communities during the bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Japan Prime Minister Shinzō Abe last November.
Abe and Duterte described the Japanese commitment of assistance “as a testament to the deepening strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines.”