PH, Japan ink P2.1-B loan for new Panglao airport expansion
The Department of Finance (DOF) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) agreed on a fresh loan of 4.376-billion yen to the Philippines — equivalent to P2.1 billion at the prevailing exchange rate — to help fund the expansion of the New Bohol Airport.
In a press statement, the DOF said the new funding would be used to extend the runway of the new airport as well as expand its passenger terminal building.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and JICA Chief Representative Yoshio Wada signed Monday the supplemental loan agreement and formally exchanged documents for Phase II of the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environmental Protection Project in Panglao Island.
“Under government conditions, this is amazing speed,” Dominguez said after the signing of the supplemental loan accord. “I look forward to this becoming the benchmark of efficiency for the other projects in the pipeline.”
Witnessing the signing of the supplemental loan accord for the new airport were Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Minister Makoto Iyori, economic affairs minister in the Embassy of Japan.
In line with the “fast and sure” approach adopted by Manila and Tokyo in the implementation of big-ticket infrastructure projects, Dominguez noted that the Philippine government fast-tracked the processing the requirements for loan which, from the time the National Economic and Development Authority board approved it on June 19, 2018 up to the Oct. 8 signing, took four months to be formalized.
He said that if the government acts “with the same dispatch on all public projects, I am confident we will sustain the pace of growth we need to bring the benefits of inclusive growth to our people.”
Dominguez thanked Japan for once again helping fund the second phase of the New Bohol Airport Project, which is also known as the Bohol Panglao International Airport.
The Finance chief said this project is “a perfect example” of a hybrid public-private partnership project in which the government takes over the initial phase of the project and later bids out its operations and maintenance aspect to the private sector.
“If some future government or some future administration needs money, they can actually sell that asset,” Dominguez said. “So while we can get good financing, we are building up our asset base. That’s like the savings of the people which can be tapped if some future administration needs it.”
Through JICA, Japan also provided funding support in the amount of 10.782 billion yen (approximately P5.18 billion or $237 million) for the first phase of the New Bohol Airport, which began construction in 2015 and is dubbed the country’s first international “eco-airport.” /kga
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