Philip­pines, Ja­pan ex­change notes on sub­way project, eco­nomic pro­grams

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By ARGYLL CYRUS B. GEDUCOS

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.

Sub­way project

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.

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