Japan to help us ‘Build’
On September 25-26, the government’s economic team will be in Tokyo to discuss with Japanese officials regarding speeding up the implementation of the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure projects for funding by Japan and, also to brief potential investors on the vibrant prospects for the Philippine economy.
The meeting in Tokyo of the Philippines-Japan High-Level Committee on Infrastructure and Economic Cooperation will be the third such dialogue to be called since the first was held in Tokyo in March this year.
The previous committee meeting was held last July in Manila, where Secretary Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), who co-chairs, with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the committee for the Philippines, announced an indicative list of projects with an estimated total cost of P315.4 billion that were pipelined for possible Japanese financing.
Speeding things up
According to Dominguez the third high-level committee meeting will focus on ways to speed up the processing and implementation of timelines of the flagship infra projects that are being eyed for possible Japanese financing.
“We want to discuss with them how we can fast-track the process of implementing the projects,”
-Dominguez, on his correspondence with officials from Japan
Besides Dominguez and Pernia, those expected to join the delegation are Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Secretaries Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); and Vivencio Dizon, president of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).
They are set to meet with Hiroto Izumi, a special advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who heads the Japan side of the high-level committee; along with officials from the Japan Ministries of Finance, of Foreign Affairs, of Trade and Industry, of Economy and of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; and officials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).
Pernia has said that the Philippines presented the following projects for possible Japanese financing during the committee meeting last July:
- Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Phase II
- Metro Manila Subway Project Phase I
- Malolos-Clark Railway Project
- Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project
- Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project
- Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao
- Circumferential Road 3 Missing Link Project
- Pasig Marikina Channel Improvement Project (Phase IV)
The Prime Minister’s Visit
During his visit to Davao City in January 2017, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe committed a total of ¥1 trillion (Ph₱463 Billion) in official development assistance (ODA) and investments to the Philippines for the next five years.
While in Tokyo, the Philippine delegation will also brief Japanese investors on the potential of the Philippine economy.
This briefing will be similar to the one held by Philippine Cabinet officials in Singapore last month.
In the Dutertenomic roadshow, Dominguez will outline to investors the Duterte administration’s plans to sustain the economy’s growth rate at 7% or more over the medium term through the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program.
According to Dominguez, a sizable portion of the Duterte administration’s unprecedented infra spending, which will generate “an impressive multiplier effect” in the form of more jobs and investments, will go the country’s poorest provinces.
To enable the government to pursue this infra program, Dominguez has said the government is bent on seeking the congressional approval of its Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) that aims to improve tax administration and at the same time guarantee a steady revenue flow to support its high–and inclusive–growth agenda.
Dominguez said the Philippines’ economic strategy takes advantage of the country’s benign debt conditions, low interest rates, investment-grade credit ratings, and improvements in the ease of doing business that the Duterte administration will continue to enhance by streamlining government operations and cutting red tape.