Japan pledges $1.26B in grants, soft loans for infra projects
As the Philippines under President Duterte strengthened ties with its neighbors, it secured $1.26 billion in commitments from Japan last year mainly to finance infrastructure projects, the Department of Finance said Thursday.
The grants and soft loans pledged by the Japanese government in 2017 formed part of the 1 trillion yen (about $8.8 billion) in investments as well as official development assistance earlier committed by Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the DOF said in statement.
In October last year, 18 letters of intent were signed by 20 Japanese firms for $6 billion in new investments in the following sectors: agribusiness, business process management, information and communication technology, infrastructure, iron and steel, manufacturing, mineral processing, power, renewable energy, retail, shipbuilding, and transportation.
On the sidelines of the 31st Association of South East Asian (Asean) Summit in November, meanwhile, Abe and President Duterte witnessed the signing of several agreements worth a total of 132.33 billion yen (about $1.18 billion).
One of the agreements signed during Abe’s visit to Manila included an exchange of notes for the 104.5-billion yen (about $929.1-million) initial tranche of loan to build the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project connecting Quezon City to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and Japan International Cooperation Agency chief representative to the Philippines Susumu Ito signed a 15.93-billion yen (about $142-million) loan agreement for the Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project.
The Philippine and Japanese governments also signed the 9.399-billion yen (about $89-million) loan for the third phase of the Arterial Road Bypass Project in Bulacan; as well as the 2.5-billion yen (about $22.2-million) grant for the Non-Project Grant Aid for the Economic and Social Development Program, which the DOF said “will benefit the Philippine Coast Guard’s anti-terrorism efforts and the Department of Public Works and Highways’ quick rehabilitation program for Marawi City.”
According to Dominguez, the President’s pivot towards Asia “led to numerous opportunities for the Philippines in 2017, not only in terms of concessional financing, grants and aid from Japan for the Duterte administration’s priority programs, but also in terms of business deals.”
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