Phl, Japan to sign $202-M loan agreement for Mindanao road network dev’t next week

Maris Federez   •   June 10, 2019   •   1238

(File photo) President Rodrigo Duterte and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe begin their meet with a handshake at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo on October 30, 2017.

The Philippines and Japan are expected to sign a $202.04-million infrastructure loan agreement on the sidelines of a high-level joint committee meeting between the two countries next week (June 18).

In its statement released on Sunday (June 9), the Department of Finance (DoF) said the deal will be focused on the Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao.

Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia will represent the Philippines, while Dr. Hiroto Izumi, special adviser to Japan Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, will lead the Japanese delegation in their meeting in New Clark City, Pampanga.

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said the project involves the building, rehabilitation and improvement of the 178.43-kilometer road network in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and neighboring regions.

The DoF also said that in the said June 18 meeting, Philippine and Japanese officials are expected to resume discussions on the progress of Japan-funded infrastructure projects under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.

They are also expected to deliberate on the other areas of the economic cooperation between Manila and Tokyo.

The meeting which will be held at New Clark City in Pampanga would be the eighth held by the high-level joint committee since it was first convened in March 2017.

The Finance Department said nine other loan agreements with Japan were signed between October 2016 and January 2019 with a combined amount of 398.82 billion yen (or about P189.92 billion). These include the following:

  1. Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard (Phase II)
  2. Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship Supportive of Peaceful Transformation (HARVEST)
  3. Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project
  4. Arterial Road Bypass Project (Phase III) in Bulacan
  5. New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project (II)
  6. Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Rehabilitation Project
  7. Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project (Phase IV)
  8. North-South Commuter Railway Extension Project (1st tranche)
  9. Metro Manila Subway Project (Phase I)

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PH secures P75-B loan from Japan for Davao, Cebu infrastructure projects

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Japan have signed two loan agreements worth P75.5 billion for two big projects in the Visayas and Mindanao under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, the Department of Finance (DOF) announced on Tuesday.

Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Eigo Azukizawa signed the loan deals worth 154 billion yen to fund the construction of the Cebu-Mactan Fourth Bridge and the Coastal Road Construction project in the Visayas, and the Davao City Bypass Construction Project.

The DOF said P57 billion of the loan will be used to support the Cebu-Mactan bridge and the coastal road construction project while the Davao City road project will get P18.5 billion.

The Duterte administration is counting on ramping up its infrastructure projects to create more jobs and boost the local economy which plummeted due to the coronavirus-induced global economic crisis.

The DOF said the loans carry a maturity period of 40 years with a 12-year grace period and have an annual interest rate of 0.10 percent for non-consulting services and 0.01 percent for consulting services.

The department said the Cebu-Mactan Fourth Bridge and the Coastal Road Construction project is the biggest infrastructure project in the Visayas under the “Build, Build, Build” program with a total estimated cost of P76.4 billion.

JICA has committed to fund 75 percent of the total cost of the project through Official Development Assistance (ODA) financing, while the remaining 25 percent or P18.82 billion will be covered by local financing.

Dominguez said the Cebu project aims to trim travel time and improve the capacity of the existing road network connecting Cebu and Mactan as it involves the construction of a 3.3-kilometer bridge with an elevated viaduct of 3.38 kilometers and a 4.9-kilometer four-lane coastal road with an elevated viaduct of 4.75 kilometers.

The Davao City Bypass Construction project, meanwhile, is expected to reduce congestion in Davao City and improve accessibility to its major development hubs through the construction of a 45.5-km, four-lane bypass road.

It also includes a 2.3-km main tunnel, which will utilize advanced Japanese technologies for its construction, and 0.5-km 4-lane cut-and-cover tunnel section running through the mountainous terrain in Barangay Magtuod, Davao City.

The project is expected to reduce travel time from Davao-Digos Intersection to Panabo City to just 49 minutes from the current one hour and 44 minutes.

The Cebu project is slated to start construction next year and is expected to be operational by 2029 while the Davao bypass road will break ground this year and will be completed by 2023.

Philippines, World Bank ink $100-M loan accord for COVID-19 emergency response project

Robie de Guzman   •   April 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) on Tuesday announced that the Philippines has signed a $100-million loan agreement with the World Bank to strengthen the country’s COVID-19 emergency response project (ERP).

In a statement, the DOF said that the loan deal was signed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and World Bank acting country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand Achim Fock on April 28.

The DOF said the loan accord aims to strengthen the country’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and boost its national systems for public health preparedness.

The $100-million loan deal follows an earlier agreement signed by Dominguez and Fock for the $500-million Third Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan (DRM DPL3) that aims to augment the Philippine government’s urgent financing requirements in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The World Bank has again acted swiftly to help developing economies like the Philippines meet the ever-increasing demand for medical care and health facilities resulting from the coronavirus-induced global health crisis. We thank the World Bank once again for supporting our efforts to contain the spread of the virus and expand our capacity to prevent and prepare for emerging infectious diseases in the future,” Dominguez said.

In approving the COVID-19 ERP loan, Fock said “boosting the [Philippines’] capacity to respond to COVID-19 will save lives.”

“The government has taken quick and decisive action in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the World Bank is proud to support its efforts. Right now, no other investment offers greater return,” Mr. Fock added.

According to the DOF, the COVID-19 ERP consists of the following components:

  • Strengthening the country’s emergency COVID-19 health care response efforts;
  • Strengthening laboratory capacity at the national and sub-national levels to support the prevention of, preparedness against, and response to, emerging infectious diseases;
  • Implementation management and monitoring and evaluation; and
  • Contingent emergency response.

The COVID-19 ERP, to be implemented by the Department of Health (DOH), will support the Philippine government’s efforts in the procurement of medical and laboratory equipment and reagents; medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPEs), medicines and ambulances; and isolation and quarantine facilities.

The World Bank may also provide proactive assistance in accessing existing supply chains through its Bank-Facilitated Procurement (BFP) to assist the DOH in implementing the project, “which will be beneficial considering the current disruptions in the usual supply chains for medical consumables and equipment for COVID-19 response,” the DOF said.

An earlier statement issued by the World Bank said the COVID-19 ERP loan also aims to expand the Philippines’ laboratory capacity by, among others, retrofitting the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) along with six sub-national and public health laboratories in Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Surigao City, and Manila; and finance the construction and expansion of laboratory capacity in priority regions that currently do not have these facilities.

The department also said that this project loan will likewise support the efforts of the DOH in coming up with design standards for hospital isolation and treatment centers in managing patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI), which will be used in health facilities across the country to ensure the consistency of quality and standards in delivering COVID-19 healthcare services.

The loan carries a maturity period of 29 years, inclusive of a 10-and-a-half-year grace period.

It will be fully financed by the World Bank with no counterpart funding needed from the Philippine government.

The DOF expects the effectiveness of the ERP loan and the project implementation to commence in early May.

Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park to house Philippine Eagle pair

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) signed on Monday (May 20) a memorandum of agreement with the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) for the loan of a pair of Philippine eagles.

The eagle pair, named “Geothermica” and “Sambisig”, will stay in Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park in the next 10 years for conservation and breeding of this critically-endangered bird species whose population at present counts to only less than 400 pairs.

According to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, the eagle pair will serve as ambassadors for Philippine biodiversity.

“Sending Geothermica and Sambisig to Singapore acts as a biosecurity measure to ensure the survival of the species and as a fallback population in the event of catastrophic events like disease outbreaks or extreme natural calamities taking place in their Philippine habitats,” Cimatu said.

Jurong Bird Park is the largest bird park in Asia.

It houses close to 3,500 birds across 400 species, of which 20 percent is threatened.

The signing of the loan agreement was witnessed by Singapore Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Ho Wei Hong and Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph del Mar Yap. – Marje Pelayo

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