PH lifts 7-year-old ban on several fish species from Fukushima

Marje Pelayo   •   May 30, 2019   •   1374

Cherry Salmon | Courtesy: OpenCage / Wikimedia Commons

TOKYO, Japan – Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol on Wednesday (May 29) announced that the Philippines officially lifted the ban imposed seven years ago on the importation of several fish species from Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture.

Piñol noted that the move was a ‘gesture of goodwill’ during the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte and his Cabinet members in the island nation.

“The lifting of the ban which covers such species as Cherry Salmon, Sand Lance, Japanese Dace, and Ayu from Fukushima ends a 7-year issue which strained PH-Japan Agriculture and Fisheries Trade,” Piñol said on his social media account.

He called the ban, issued during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III, as a ‘ridiculous bureaucratic exercise’ because the fish species included in the ban are not even imported by the Philippines.

“I consider the ban as just bureaucratic gobbledygook and an over-reaction to an issue which did not really affect the Philippines,” he said.

The Agriculture Secretary confirmed that he signed the order lifting the importation ban on May 27.

It will be officially presented to Japanese Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Yoshikawa Takamori during the four-day visit, according to the Secretary.

“With this move, the Duterte Administration is showing goodwill to the Japanese government as it moves to promote the entry of more Philippine agriculture products to the Philippines,” he concluded.

PH, Japan meet tackle closer cooperation on key infrastructure projects

Robie de Guzman   •   December 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Japan both agreed to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries in implementing key infrastructure projects under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said that during the high-level meeting held in Hakone last Dec. 6, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Japan’s Hiroto Izumi, special advisor to Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, discussed Japan’s continued assistance for the Philippines’ infrastructure projects.

The two sides also expressed readiness to sign the JPY4.409 billion supplemental loan agreement for the Metro Manila Priority Seismic Bridge Improvement Project in the coming months.

During the meeting, the two officials signed the memorandum of cooperation (MOC) signifying the latter’s commitment to provide technical support to the Duterte administration’s formulation of a regional development master plan designed to maximize the economic potentials of the Subic Bay and its surrounding areas.

In November, the DOF said that Japan have committed to support the masterplan which includes the development of possible projects that will help boost economy in the Subic Bay area.

Japan also committed to extend additional technical assistance that are critical to the Philippines’ campaign to bridge the infrastructure financing gap.

Both sides likewise confirmed to work towards the signing of the exchange of notes and the loan agreement for a supplemental loan to finance the ongoing Davao City Bypass Construction Project (DCBCP).

The two countries also committed to speed up the formulation of the Central Mindanao Highway Project (Cagayan de Oro-Malaybalay Section), as a candidate for Japanese official development assistance (ODA).

In addition, the DOF said that Japanese officials have expressed their intention to conduct pre-feasibility studies for four of the Philippines’ priority projects: the Cebu Circumferential Road, Second San Juanico Bridge and Access Road, Central Mindanao Highway (Cagayan de Oro-Malaybay Section), and Agusan del Norte-Butuan City Logistical Highway (4th Butuan Bridge.)

Japan also reiterated its intention to provide a loan for the Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Construction Project, as well as additional technical assistance to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Most Affected Areas (MAA) in Marawi City.

The two sides also discussed other loan financing arrangements for the Philippines as it transitions to Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC) status ahead of schedule in 2020.

CamSur, Quezon provinces declare state of calamity in ‘Tisoy’ aftermath

Marje Pelayo   •   December 5, 2019

Villagers walk next to a fallen tree in Naga City, Camarines Sur province, Philippines, 03 December 2019.  EPA-EFE/JONNEL MARIBOJOC

CAMARINES SUR, Philippines – The onslaught of Typhoon Tisoy has left more than P257-million worth of damage in agriculture in the province.

This has prompted the provincial government of Camarines Sur to place the province under a state of calamity.

According to the assessment of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), a total of 9,382 farmers suffered huge losses or considered economically displaced due to the typhoon.

Meanwhile, about 9,259.56 hectares of palay were also damaged.

Gil Dialiano Jr. was among those affected farmers who lament over their loss after the typhoon submerged their entire farmland.

This added to the burden of slumping prices of rice in the market, he said.

“Umani nga pero lugi naman dahil mura ang palay,” he said.

“Inabot ng baha kaya luging lugi talaga,” he added.

Overall, Typhoon Tisoy left more than P257-million worth of damage to the province’s agriculture.

“Ang dahilan po nito, ang damages po ng Camarines Sur na na-incur pagdating sa flooding, pagdating po sa damage houses, pagdating sa agriculture most especially” noted PDRRMC-CamSur Spokesperson Estel Estropia.

Similarly, the provincial government of Quezon also declared a state of calamity following the typhoon.

Such a declaration will allow local governments to utilize their respective calamity funds for the rehabilitation of the affected places.

Based on initial assessment, damage to agriculture in the entire province of Quezon has hit more than a billion pesos worth in the aftermath of the typhoon.

“Ang mga nasa vegetative stage, flowering stage at ang iba naman ay harvesting stage na ay dumapa at naapektuhan,” noted Quezon Province provincial administrator Roberto Gajo.

So far, authorities are still completing the damage assessment in infrastructures in the province.

Quezon province recorded two casualties from the onset of Typhoon Tisoy. – MNP (with inputs from Nel Maribojoc / Japhet Cablaida)

PH, Japan infrastructure meet set in Hakone on Dec. 6

Robie de Guzman   •   December 5, 2019

(FILE) From left to right: Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr. Hiroto Izumi (Courtesy: Philippine Embassy to Tokyo website)

MANILA, Philippines – Economic officials from the Philippines and Japan are set to meet on Dec. 6, Friday to discuss the progress of the Duterte administration’s big-ticket infrastructure projects being financed by Tokyo.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and Economic and Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia will lead the Philippine delegation, while Dr. Hiroto Izumi will head the Japanese team in the next high-level meeting set in Hakone town in eastern Japan.

The Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement the meeting of the Philippines-Japan Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation will be the ninth such dialogue between the two countries.

The first meeting was convened in March 2017 at Kantei, the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo, Japan, while the most recent was held at a hotel in Clark, Pampanga.

Dominguez said the regular meetings held between the two countries is part of the “fast and sure” approach adopted by the two countries to ensure the smooth and swift implementation of the Japan-funded projects under President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure modernization program.

“A clear demonstration of this ‘fast and sure’ approach was the signing of 10 loan agreements between Manila and Tokyo since President Duterte assumed office in June 2016,” he added.

These loan agreements include Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard (Phase II), Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship Supportive of Peaceful Transformation (HARVEST); Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project; Arterial Road Bypass Project (Phase III) in Bulacan; New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project (II); Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Rehabilitation Project; Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project (Phase IV); North-South Commuter Railway Extension Project or NSCREP (1st tranche of loan); Metro Manila Subway Project or MMSP (Phase I), which is the single biggest venture under the “Build, Build, Build” program; and Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao.

The finance chief noted that several of these agreements involving infrastructure projects were each processed and approved in a short span of 3 to 4 months.The DOF also said that as of December 2018, Japan is still the top provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans and grants totaling US$8.26 billion or 46 percent share of the Philippines’ total ODA loan portfolio.

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