Philippines, Japan exchange notes on subway project, economic programs
The Philippines and Japan exchanged notes on major local infrastructure projects and economic and social development program during their bilateral meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Monday night.
President Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, reaffirming the close ties between the two countries, witnessed the exchange of notes, among them the Metro Manila Subway project by For-
eign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano and the new Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda.
Other exchange of notes involved the Arterial Road Bypass Project Phase 3, and notes on the economic and social development program.
Economic, social dev’t grant The economic and social development grant includes the provision of equipment for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the rehabilitation of Marawi City, and coast watch radars to increase the Philippine anti-terrorism capabilities in West Mindanao for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative in the Philippines Susumu Ito also had an exchange of loan agreement on the Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project.
Department of National Defense Undersecretary for Finance, Ammunitions, Installations and Materials Raymundo Elefante and Commissioner Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency Yoshiyuki Suzuki also signed the Amended Letter of Arrangement on the transfer of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force trainer aircraft TC-90s.
In October, 2017, Japan pledged a total of over US$ 1 billion for the infrastructure projects in the Philippines by exchanging notes on the provision of a yen loan.
Flood risk management project
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Japan, one of the three projects is the Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project with a loan provision of up to Y15.928 billion or roughly 17.3 billion.
The project aims to reduce flood damage in Cavite by implementing measures to counter flooding in the province and is also expected to help overcome vulnerability and contribute to sustainable economic growth in the Philippines.
The loan has an interest rate of 0.3 percent per annum, while rate of interest of the consulting services will be 0.01 percent per annum. It is payable for 30 years after the 10-year grace period.
Abe has also pledged the provision of a yen loan of up to Y104.53, or roughly 147.6 billion, for the Metro Manila Subway Project (Phase 1), which will contribute to relieving traffic congestion.
The Subway project yen loan has an interest rate of 0.1 percent per annum (0.01 percent per annum for consulting services), and is payable for 28 years after a grace period of 12 years.
Arterial Road Bypass Project
Abe also pledged a yen loan of up to ¥9.399 billion, or up to 34.3 billion, for the Arterial Road Bypass Project (Phase III) in Plaridel, Bulacan.
According to the MOFA, the project will contribute to improving transportation capacity in Plaridel City by constructing a bypass road along the Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway. The highway directly connects Metro Manila with Central Luzon.
The Road Bypass Project yen loan has an interest rate of 1.5 percent per annum (0.01 percent per annum for consulting services), and is payable for 20 years after the 10-year grace period. Japan cooperation with ASEAN During the 20th ASEAN-Japan Summit on Monday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to deepen his country’s cooperation with the ASEAN in various areas.
The 20th ASEAN-Japan Summit is part of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings hosted by the Philippines this year.
According to Abe, Japan is willing to strengthen its cooperation with ASEAN in the areas of maritime security, defense, trade, infrastructure development, combating terrorism, disaster risk reduction and cultural exchanges.
“Japan will strongly push forward ASEAN by exercising leadership so that integration goes even further as a community,” Abe said in his opening remarks during the summit.
“Furthermore, we will cooperate in creating a resilient society, where all peoples of the region can exhibit in freedom their potential to the fore, enjoy peace and prosperity based on the rule of law and be able to actually feel the quality of life without inequalities,” he added.
Abe said Japan is willing to share its knowledge and experience with the ASEAN member states in dealing with various challenges such as ageing with low fertility, environment and energy.
The Prime Minister also pledged to support ASEAN in quality infrastructure upgrading, sophistication of industrial structure and human resource development for the progress of the entire ASEAN region.
He said Japan will continue to expedite the Yen Loan Project and it also wishes to see the early conclusion of Japan-ASEAN Technical Cooperation Agreement which was agreed upon at the Japan-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in August.
Abe added that Japan will also promote innovation where Japanese and ASEAN companies collaborate so that the ASEAN companies are not left behind in the economic growth, and that strong small and medium enterprises are created one after another.
He likewise took note of the bilateral currencies swap arrangement where yen withdrawal is possible, which was concluded for the first time with the Philippines during President Duterte’s Official Visit there last October.
In the area of peace and stability, Abe said Japan will work for the substantial upgrading of human resource development, provision of supplies, and intellectual contribution in the ASEAN member states to develop free and open international orders based on the rule of law.
Abe committed to provide ¥55 billion in the next three years for the purpose of enhancing maritime law enforcement capacity.
In response to the rising threat of terrorism in Asia, Abe said Japan continues to assist ASEAN nations in the domain of terrorism and violent extremism as it assists the Philippines in the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
“While we cooperate in reconstruction efforts in Marawi in the Philippines, we will also cooperate so as to support the government of Myanmar toward the improved situation in the Rakhine State,” he said.
In the area of partners for prosperity, Abe said he wishes to promote free trade by clearly presenting the importance of free and open trade and investment.
In the area of improving quality of life, Abe said Japan is committed to help ASEAN in promoting a society where people just don’t live long but can enjoy healthy longevity.
He said one way of achieving this is through the Japan-ASEAN Environmental Initiative, which aims to cooperate for building recycling-oriented society so that sustainable development goals are also attained in other areas of science and technology, disaster risk reduction and health.
In cultural and people-to-people exchanges, Abe cited 30,000 people in exchange program, 2.1 million persons in Japanese language partnership, as well as the Japan-ASEAN Sports Ministers’ Meeting that was held in Japan for the first time last October.
In closing, Abe raised the nuclear and missile issues of North Korea saying that it was a “grave and imminent threat” that his country should never experience.
“We need to make North Korea change their policy by enhancing the pressure applied to North Korea to the highest level by all available means, including the full implementation of the Security Council’s resolutions,” he said.
President Duterte, who chairs this year’s ASEAN Summit, took note of how ASEAN-Japan relations have matured into a strategic partnership for peace and stability, prosperity, quality of life, and mutual trust and understanding.
“We can trace the beginnings of today’s robust ASEAN-Japan relations to 1977, when the Fukuda Doctrine, being Japan’s foreign policy, approached towards a heart-to-heart relationship with our region,” he said.
Under the doctrine, Japan will no longer strive to strengthen its military might and will no longer aspire to become a military power in Asia.