Japan commits support to Marcos’ infra push

Published August 5, 2022, 1:52 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Japanese government has vowed continued support to the Philippine government’s infrastructure push under the Marcos administration, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Friday, Aug. 5.

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said that Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa reaffirmed during their recent meeting of Tokyo’s strong economic partnership with Manila.

In particular, Diokno said that Japan committed its support to President Marcos’ infrastructure development program.

“The Ambassador reiterated Japan’s continued support for the Philippines’ massive infrastructure program, the development of Subic Bay and Mindanao, and other sectoral cooperation in health, energy, agriculture, and ICT, among other areas,” Diokno said in a statement Friday, Aug. 5.

Japan’s financial contribution to the Philippines’ nation-building efforts under the previous Duterte administration reached 1.38 trillion yen, well over the one-trillion yen mark committed by the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2017.

Japan is also the Philippines’ largest provider of official development assistance (ODA), which has committed loans and grants amounting to around $10.2 billion, or 31.8 percent of the country’s total ODA portfolio, as of December 2021.

Koshikawa said the Japanese government appreciates the continuity of the Build, Build, Build program under the Marcos administration.

Under the administration’s Medium-Term Fiscal Framework, the government seeks to sustain infrastructure spending at 5 to 6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) annually.

The Japanese government currently supports several big-ticket infrastructure projects including the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP), North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project, and rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3).

Tokyo is also supporting the Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project, Central Mindanao Highway Project (Cagayan de Oro-Malaybalay Section), and the Parañaque Spillway, among others.

Moreover, the Japanese government provides funding for the development of the Subic Bay Masterplan and the Smart City initiatives in New Clark City.

Diokno credited the success of Japan and the Philippines’ infrastructure development cooperation to the efforts of both sides in conducting the regular high-level meetings.

The High-Level Meeting of the Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation has become an effective mechanism of coordination that fast-tracked Japanese assistance consistent with the “Fast and Sure” approach.

Diokno said the Philippines is eager to continue using this platform to push forward the fruition of more projects.