Dominguez asks Japan to speed up Subic master plan
The head of the Duterte administration’s economic team on Thursday urged Japan’s highest diplomatic official, on a visit to the Philippines, to swiftly finish the master plan to develop Subic Bay Freeport Zone and areas near it.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said while he thanked the Japanese government for supporting the crafting of the master plan, “we look forward to Japan’s swift creation of the action plan for this project.”
He was addressing himself to Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, who met with Dominguez in Manila.
The memo of cooperation for the master plan was signed in Hakone, Japan last December on the sidelines of the ninth high-level meeting of the Philippines-Japan Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation.
The Department of Finance (DOF) earlier said Japanese help for the Subic master plan covered potential projects on disaster risk management, logistics terminal development, public utilities and road networks.
The master plan would be done “at the soonest possible time,” the DOF had said.
The Philippines is tapping the expertise of Japan International Cooperation Agency, or Jica, in developing the master plan.
Dominguez said based on “what we have achieved in developing the Clark special economic zone, I am confident that the full development of Subic Bay will provide another important node for knowledge-based industries serving the whole of East Asia.”
He said more financing and technical support from Japan were expected as implementation of more flagship projects under “Build, Build, Build” accelerates.
He also cited the Asian Development Bank’s role as Philippine partner through incoming ADB president Masagatsu Asakawa.
Asakawa will assume the ADB’s highest position on Jan. 17.
During their meeting, Dominguez thanked Motegi for Japan’s “steadfast commitment to the Philippines’ development”.
“Japan’s support, in fact, increased significantly over the past few years,” Dominguez said.
Since the start of the Duterte administration, Dominguez said the Philippines and Japan had already signed 10 loan agreements.
“These loan agreements are to finance big-ticket infrastructure projects crucial to our country’s competitiveness,” Dominguez said.
He also took note of the seamless cooperation on infrastructure projects by the Philippine and Japanese governments through the joint committee that had already held nine meetings since 2017. Its 10 meeting would be in Bohol likely in February.
Japanese assistance was made quick and seamless by the mechanism which, Dominguez said, was “consistent with the ‘fast and sure’ approach we have taken on the infrastructure modernization program.”
“The high-level committee has shortened the approval process of our loan agreements to an average of three to four months,” Dominguez said.
“This demonstrates our shared commitment to work closely to ensure that the Filipino people get the benefit of these projects at the lowest possible costs and the soonest possible time,” Dominguez added.
Edited by TSB
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