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Jica to help bankroll Davao tunnel project

/ 12:28 AM January 25, 2017

Aid agency Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) on Tuesday said it would help build the construction of the country’s first long distance tunnel aimed at easing traffic congestion in President Duterte’s hometown.

In a statement, Jica noted of its assistance to the construction of a bypass road in Davao, alongside its joint project with the National Economic and Development Authority dubbed Davao City Infrastructure Development and Capacity Building, which draws midterm as well as long-term strategies to sustain economic growth in the city through infrastructure buildup.

In 2015, Jica and the Philippine government signed a 23.9-billion yen official development assistance (ODA) loan for the Davao City bypass construction project, specifically the center and south sections.

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“This project will construct a bypass road connecting the southern tip and the center part of Davao City and improve the paving of existing roads, thereby improving access between ports, including Sasa international seaport, and the city center, and improving logistics and traffic congestion in the biggest economy in Mindanao, the core of which is Davao City, with the objective of contributing to economic development in Mindanao. Special Terms for Economic Partnership apply to this Japanese ODA loan, and it is expected that Japanese technology such as excavation techniques for tunnel construction will be applied,” Jica earlier said on its website.

Jica noted that “Davao City exports agricultural products, which are the main export for the island of Mindanao, as well as agricultural and industrial products produced by Japanese companies located nearby, from ports including the major export base, Sasa international seaport.”

“Functioning as a gateway to other islands, Davao City is expected to increase its importance as the driving force for economic growth in Mindanao going forward. However, traffic congestion has become a serious problem in the center of Davao City, associated with a rise in the population density, and traffic conditions combined with other factors such as truck regulations increase the cost of transportation,” Jica said.

As for the Davao City Infrastructure Development and Capacity Building project approved in 2016, Jica senior representative Tetsuya Yamada said “we hope that Davao City becomes a model of sustainable and balanced urban development.”

“By sharing Japanese know-how in urban development planning, hopefully other cities will also embrace same sustainable approaches to economic development,” Yamada added.

A project outline obtained by the Inquirer last year showed that the initiative will result into an urban infrastructure development plan alongside a corresponding investment program for Davao City. Ben O. de Vera

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