Japan provides extra loan to strengthen 2 Manila bridges against earthquakes

10, Jan. 2020

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi (R) exchanging diplomatic notes with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. in Makati City on Jan. 9, 2020.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi (R) exchanging diplomatic notes with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. in Makati City on Jan. 9, 2020.

MANILA, NNA – Japan has pledged to provide the Philippines with an additional loan of 4.409 billion yen ($40 million) in a massive project to strengthen the resilience of two major bridges in Metro Manila.

On top of the 2015 Japanese commitment of 9.783 billion yen loan, the extra financing agreement was made during the visit of Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi to the Philippines Wednesday.

The strengthening of Lambingan Bridge in Manila City and Makati City’s Guadalupe Bridge located along the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue, a major thoroughfare, will help the heavily used bridges withstand the impact of severe earthquakes.

Reaffirming their mutually beneficial collaboration in ongoing infrastructure projects in the Southeast Asian country, Motegi and his Philippine counterpart Teodoro Locsin Jr. exchanged diplomatic notes and updates on the bridge project.

Explaining the need for extra financing, the Philippines foreign affairs department said costs have gone up due to changes in the construction technology that would be adopted to upgrade the Guadalupe bridge. Also, more funds are needed to build temporary detour bridges during reinforcement work and pay workers doing additional shifts, among other things to enable the construction to complete on schedule.

There is still no target completion date yet for the project as “it is still under procurement of the contractor,” Kiyo Kawabuchi, senior representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency in Manila, told NNA in a text message on Friday.

“Japan wishes to cooperate by leveraging our knowledge in responding to natural disasters which is a common challenge for both our countries,” Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said in his speech after the signing of the new agreement.

The Philippine Foreign Affairs Department said the implementation of the project will be delayed by 20 months until August 2023.

The Philippines has been struck by several devastating earthquakes last year. Dozens of people were killed while many were injured and numerous homes destroyed. Like Japan, the Philippines group of islands sit on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur frequently.