Japan pledges billions for train, agri projects in PH
The Philippines and Japan ended bilateral talks on a high note with billions of yen committed to railway, agribusiness and labor-related projects.
Japan committed 241.991 billion yen for the North-South Commuter Railway Project in a deal signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario and Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa late Thursday in the presence of President Benigno Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This development assistance was the result of Aquino’s state visit to Japan last June 2015, where Abe announced his government would “cooperate” in the project utilizing Japanese funds and technology.
The project aims to strengthen the transport network and ease serious traffic congestion in Metro Manila by constructing a commuter railway between Malolos, Bulacan and Tutuban in Manila, Japanese Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura said in a briefing late Thursday.
The Malolos-Tutuban portion is the so-called North line of the project, the construction of which will be funded via overseas development assistance (ODA). The so-called South line, which will be auctioned under the Philippines’ public-private partnership (PPP) program, is from Tutuban to Legazpi in Bicol, with a spur line to Matnog, Sorsogon, said PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao via phone interview.
Following the signing, Abe said he wants a research immediately initiated on a transport plan for Metro Manila.
To facilitate the peace process in Mindanao, Japan also said it decided to support a 15 billion yen agribusiness promotion project in the region, Kawamura said. Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) director for investment promotion and public affairs Romeo Montenegro confirmed the assistance.
Japan also agreed to receive Filipino household workers in “economic special zones” in prefectures such as Kanagawa and Osaka.
Japan also welcomed the Philippines’ interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.