PHL, Japan sign $202-M loan deal for roads in Mindanao conflict areas

Shinzō Abe and Rodrigo Duterte

Both governments of Japan and the Philippines engaged a $202.04-million loan agreement to finance the development a road network in conflict areas in Mindanao.

A statement on Wednesday by the Department of Finance (DOF) stated Philippine and Japanese officials signed the loan accord in New Clark City late Tuesday.

The arrangement calls for Japan to provide an official development assistance loan for the construction and improvement of roads in Mindanao’s conflict-affected areas, including war-torn Marawi City.

The loan accord for the Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao (RNDP) was signed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on behalf of the Philippines and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Senior Vice President Yasushi Tanaka on behalf of the Japanese government.

The signing settled the 8th meeting of the Philippines-Japan Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation held at the Marriot Clark Hotel.

Dominguez stated the loan, equivalent to ¥21.92 billion, will cover several road sites in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

It aims to “reinvigorate local economies and reduce poverty in its communities by linking them to Mindanao’s trade centers, thus improving accessibility and the smooth flow of goods and services to and from these areas,” he said.

The $202-million loan covers funding for consulting services and civil works involving the construction and improvement of about 176.6 kilometers of access roads, 19.8 kms of the Marawi Ring Road, and 23 kms of the Marawi Trans-Central Road, according to JICA.

Japanese and Philippine officials dedicated to work towards signing this year a supplemental loan for the ongoing Davao City Bypass Construction Project, and three more loans for the New Mactan Bridge Construction Project in Cebu, the second phase of the  Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project,  and the second tranche for the  first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project.

Finance chief added the two sides agreed to “maintain close coordination to resolve pending issues and revisit certain procedures in order to deliver fast and sure action towards achieving our timelines.”

“The discussions also covered broad areas of Japan-Philippines sectoral cooperation, including regional development, information and communications technology, energy, environment, public safety, and disaster prevention,” Dominguez concluded.

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