Japan to lend $1.461 bil. for two Philippine road projects
MANILA, NNA – Japan has committed to lending about 73 billion pesos ($1.461 billion) for two road projects under the Philippines’ flagship infrastructure renewal program designed to lure foreign investment and jumpstart the coronavirus-battered economy.
On Monday, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda announced financing for a fourth bridge in in the central hub city Cebu. Japan had also agreed to a loan for the Davao City Bypass Construction Project on the island of Mindanao.
“As a primary driver of economic recovery in this time of COVID-19, these key infrastructure projects are (being) eyed to help stimulate trade, business and job opportunities in the provinces and help spread growth throughout the country,” the Japanese Embassy said in a statement on Monday.
The Cebu-Mactan Bridge will cost 56 billion pesos and provide an alternative route linking Cebu to the Mactan Economic Zone where many export-oriented industries are located. The Phase 2 of Davao City Bypass is budgeted at 17 billion pesos and is expected to ease traffic congestion in central Davao – the country’s second largest city after Manila.
The Philippine government aims to accelerate construction of key infrastructure projects under its flagship “Build, Build, Build” program to revive the economy hit by months of business shutdowns. Shutdowns started easing June 1 despite continued reports of coronavirus cases.
The country’s top economic manager finance secretary Carlos Dominguez previously has said infrastructure projects would have a multiplier effect by helping to raise incomes, stimulate demand and create new opportunities for work and business.
Japan will separately provide a 2 billion yen ($18.5 million) grant for medical equipment such as CT scanners and magnetic resonance imaging systems as it grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Japan is the top provider of government-approved loans and grants to the Philippines. Its aid totaled $8.26 billion as of 2018, accounting for 46 percent of the country’s total according to the Japanese Department of Finance.