JICA says it will continue partnership with Phillippines even after reaching upper middle income status
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said on Thursday that it will continue partnership Philippines after getting upper middle income country status.
JICA Philippines Senior Representative Kiyo Kawabuchi said the agency will maintain its partnership and support to the Philippine government's "Build, Build, Build" program after the country reach higher economic classification.
To date, the executing agency of the Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) grants loans and handles technical operations of railway projects under the Department of Transportation (DOTr) with only 0.1 percent interest rate.
Kawabuchi explained once the country becomes an upper middle income economy within the year, the agency's set terms and conditions will change.
"In two years time, if you continue to be classified as (upper middle income economy), you will no longer be eligible to the set conditions which are 0.1 percent and the 40 years grace period," Kawabuchi said in a press conference.
"Once you enter the UMIC ( upper middle income category), our terms and conditions will be less concessional... We don't have any particular vision on the past-UMIC situation yet," she added.
Still, she explained they are discussing with the Philippine government how they can provide continuous support for railway and other projects they have in cooperation with Department of Transportation.
Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan clarified that JICA and the government will keep its ties and work closely under the post-UMIC status.
"I believe that the cooperation will still be there and it will continue to be there as long as we have needs and so long as JICA has options or funding strategies that are available to assist us," Batan said.
Among the railway projects supported by JICA under Official Development Assistance are the Metro Manila Subway Project, North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) Rehabilitation Project, Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Cavite Extension Project, and the LRT Line 2 East Extension Project. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS