PH, Japan to hold virtual high-level infra meeting

Published July 26, 2021, 7:00 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

High-level Philippine and Japanese officials are set meet to virtually this week to discuss infrastructure development and economic cooperation between the two nations.

On July 28, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua will meet with Izumi Hiroto, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, who will represent the Japanese government.

This will be the second time that the Japan-Philippines Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation will be convened online, the Department of Finance said.

The discussions will focus on the status of the Japan-funded projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program and Japan’s assistance to the Philippines’ COVID-19 response efforts, including its ongoing mass vaccination program. 

Also expected to be discussed are the updates on the Mindanao peace process, which Japan has been actively supporting through the framework of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD). 

Aside from Japan’s assistance to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the two sides will also discuss Japan’s support for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi City and its surrounding areas. 

The meeting will discuss the progress of the first phase of several Japan-supported projects, such as the Metro Manila Subway Project, Philippine Railway Institute, Metro Rail Transit  3 (MRT-3) and Rehabilitation Project.

Moreover, the Davao City Bypass Construction Project, Central Mindanao Highway Project, North-South Railway Project, Paranaque Spillway Project, Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project and New Clark City are also part of the discussion.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the joint committee met alternately in Japan and the Philippines. 

The panel first convened in March 2017 in Tokyo, while its latest face-to-face meeting was in Hakone in December 2019.