Japanese gov’t mulls funding Manila ‘Skytree’
The Japanese government is considering investing in the construction of a landmark tower planned in the Philippines through a public-private investment fund, it has been learned.
The government aims to promote infrastructure export, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration has selected as one of its growth strategies, along with information and communications technology (ICT).
The project is the construction of the Philippine Diamond Tower, which Quezon City, Metro Manila, plans to build in order to improve the efficiency of radio wave management for terrestrial digital broadcasting.
The tower is scheduled to be completed in 2019, with expected total construction costs of over ¥100 billion (P41.4 billion). It is planned to be 612 meters high in honor of June 12, the country’s Independence Day. By constructing both an observation platform and commercial facilities in the tower, it is also expected to become a popular sightseeing spot.
The Corporation for the Overseas Development of Japan’s ICT and Postal Services (JICT, see below) is considering investing in the project in cooperation with a local subsidiary and others, as well as dispatching workers for the project.
The JICT is considering establishing a new entity together with the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN), another public-private investment fund dealing with urban development, with an eye to participating in the bidding and construction if it wins the contract, along with the facility management.
The JICT was launched in November last year for the purpose of ICT export. If they succeed in winning the contract, it will be the first occasion for them.
The Philippines has adopted the same system of terrestrial digital broadcasting as Japan. However, there is no common broadcast tower shared by the broadcasting stations in the Philippines and it is difficult to transmit radio waves to areas such as those behind tall buildings in urban areas, according to sources.
With experience of operating both Tokyo Tower and the 634-meter-high Tokyo Skytree, Japan has an abundant knowledge of the technology for transmitting radio waves to wide-ranging areas from a tall broadcasting tower and also in operating a tower as a tourist attraction.
According to sources close to the government, Quezon City has responded positively to the idea of granting the construction project to Japan. However, as China is also interested in exporting its broadcasting infrastructure, it is likely that bidding for the project will have some serious competitors taking part if China also joins.
The JICT was jointly established by the government and 21 private companies in such fields as communication and manufacturing. Each side invested half of the total capital for the organization. Although its current capital is ¥1.872 billion (P776.1 million), this may increase up to as much as ¥40 billion (P16.5 billion) depending on the scale of its investments. The government will invest up to ¥20 billion (P8.2 billion).
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.