• Melo Acuna

Japan remains PH's No. 1 ODA source

Japanese government supports two major infra projects, provides grants

MANILA – Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. and Japanese Ambassador Haneda Koji exchanged diplomatic notes on the Japanese government’s support for two major Philippine infrastructure projects and grant in air for agriculture development, higher education scholarships and the needed health equipment at simple rites at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The exchange of notes include the Cebu-Mactan Bridge (4th Bridge) and Coastal Road Construction Project expected to cost ¥119.225 billion which includes the construction of a 3.3 kilometer bridge with a 3.385-km. elevated viaduct of two lanes per direction and a 4.9 kilometer four-lane coastal road with a 4.751-km. viaduct. It also includes the Davao City By-Pass Construction Project II: Costing ¥34.830 billion, the project represents the next phase in the construction of a 45.2-km. road, with tunnels and other associated infrastructure, to divert traffic away from Davao City center.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the agreement also include the Non-Project Grant Aid for the Economic and Social Development Programme for the Department of Health with Japan extending up to ¥2 billion to provide five CT scan machines, five x-ray machines, one MRI system, ten hemodialysis machines and four infections disease surveillance sites. The equipment are seen to support the Department of Health’s response to COVID-19 and other health emergencies.

The Japanese government also forged a non-project grant agreement on the Economic and Social Development Program for the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) amounting to ¥800 million, a follow-up to the 2001 grant aid farm mechanization program supported by the Sugar-Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund. The fund will be used to purchase 94 units of tractors, harrows, whole stalk sugarcane planter and munchers.

A project called Human Resource Development Scholarship by Japanese Grant Aid for 2021 - a long-standing Japan’s scholarship program, the project supports two-year Master’s and Doctorate courses at prominent Japanese universities for young officials in the Philippine civil service seen as potentially assuming key leadership roles.

According to the DFA statement, the exchange of notes is proof of Japan’s status as the Philippines’ top provider of ODA for decades and a vital partner in achieving the country’s development goals. Last year, President Duterte called Japan the “gold standard” for Philippine development cooperation with foreign partners. (Melo M. Acuña)

Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, jr. (left) and Japanese Ambassador Haneda Koji show the documents they signed at simple ceremonies at the Department of Foreign Affairs earlier today. (DFA Photo)

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