Japan’s support to PH exceeds target

Published May 4, 2022, 1:48 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Japan’s financial support to the Philippines during the Duterte administration’s nation-building programs surpassed the amount committed by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe five-years ago, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

According to the DOF, Japan, the Philippines’ biggest provider of official development assistance (ODA), supported the implementation of 27 ongoing loans to the Philippines under President Duterte’s term, costing $10.02 billion.

Of the 27 ongoing loans, 16 support were flagship infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build” program, the DOF said.

Japan’s financial contribution is equivalent to 1.38 trillion yen, more than the one trillion yen commitment of former Prime Minister Abe in 2017.

As of June 2021, Japanese ODAs account for 38 percent of the Philippines’ total loans and grants portfolio, or $10.45 billion, the DOF said.

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III broached the possibility of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) extending its support to the Philippines’ localized climate adaptation and mitigation projects.

Dominguez’s proposal was raised during his recent meeting with Shinichi Kitaoka and Akihiko Tanaka, the outgoing president and current president, respectively, of JICA, after the signing of the 30-billion yen loan agreement.

Dominguez is the designated representative of President Duterte to the Philippines’ Climate Change Commission (CCC).

Tanaka expressed his openness to Dominguez’s proposal and said JICA would be willing to explore climate projects in the Philippines targeting specific localities and addressing specific climate change-related threats

He also reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to the Mindanao peace process, and assistance in the development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Kitaoka, for his part, said Japan is proud of its partnership with the Philippines, as it has led to substantial progress, especially in the areas of infrastructure cooperation and the Mindanao peace process.

Dominguez and the JICA presidents also looked forward to the implementation of the Subic Bay Regional Development Master Plan, which was finalized recently with the assistance of a JICA survey mission team.

The masterplan will serve as a blueprint to maximize the economic development potentials of Subic Bay and its surrounding areas.