PH, Japan speeding up subway, rail and flood projects
Philippine and Japanese officials have committed to fast-track the implementation of big-ticket infrastructure projects to be funded by Japan, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Tuesday.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III was quoted by the DOF as saying that “significant milestones have been reached in the processing of the jointly agreed project list between the two countries” during the Third Philippines-Japan High-Level Meeting of the Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation held in Tokyo Monday.
To recall, the Philippine and Japanese sides at the second meeting held in Manila in July identified P315.4-billion worth of projects being eyed for financing from Japan.
“Now that our plans have progressed, we intend to lay out specific plans on how to expedite the processing and implementation of the flagship projects,” said Dominguez, who headed the visiting Philippine delegation.
Quoting Dominguez, the DOF said both sides agreed to fast-track their respective project approval processes while also establishing new measures that will allow “more efficient decision making, and swift execution such as in project preparation and formulation, due diligence, procurement process and project implementation including land acquisition and resettlement.”
“Our regular rounds of high-level meetings have brought about significant changes in the way we do things. Needless to say, we hope to continue pushing for improvements in order to accomplish more in less time,” Dominguez said.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia had said that eight projects will be pitched for financing by the Japanese government, namely: Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project; Circumferential Road 3 Missing Link Project; Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project; Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Phase 2; Malolos-Clark Railway Project; Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1; Pasig-Marikina Channel Improvement Project (Phase 4); as well as Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao.
The National Economic and Development Authority had said that the Philippine and Japanese governments would likely sign the loan commitments for three big-ticket projects when Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Manila in November, namely the P230-billion Mega Manila Subway Project-Phase 1, the P211.5-billion Malolos-Clark Airport-Clark Green City Rail Project, and the P9.99-billion Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project.
During his visit to the Philippines last January, Abe committed up to one trillion yen in official development assistance as well as investments to the Philippines in the next five years.
Meanwhile, after their Japan meetings, the Duterte administration’s economic managers headed by Dominguez will proceed to China for a series of roadshows from Sept. 27 to 29 to firm up Chinese financing for the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program as well as attract investors for the planned “panda” bond sale.
In their Sept. 27 meeting with Chinese ministry officials in Beijing, the economic team will “discuss the progress of the preparations for the Philippines’ big-ticket infrastructure projects that would be partly funded by official development assistance (ODA) from China,” the DOF said.
On Sept. 28, the economic managers will move to Shanghai to brief Chinese business leaders on the Philippine economy, the DOF added.
Also, the DOF quoted Dominguez as saying that “the economic team will also spearhead a non-deal roadshow to entice potential buyers of the Philippines’ panda bond offering, which is tentatively scheduled in the last quarter of the year.”
Dominguez had said they plan to issue $200-million in three- to five-year panda bonds by October or November.
Panda bonds are yuan-denominated debt paper issued in China by foreign governments or companies.
The Monetary Board, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ highest policymaking body, already approved in principle the planned panda bonds issuance, while the Philippine government was in the process of also securing approvals from the People’s Bank of China. /cbb
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