Philippines wants to channel 1 trillion yen ODA to Mindanao, northern areas: official
The Philippine government wants to allocate Japan’s one trillion yen or about $9-billion pledge of assistance to projects that will bring development in Mindanao and northern part of Luzon, an official said.
In a press conference in Davao City on Saturday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said starting Monday, the government would start lining up projects, which could be funded by Japanese official development assistance (ODA).
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during his two-day trip in the country, has vowed to provide the Philippines one trillion yen to assist its development over the next five years.
“So, we are going to start lining up our projects starting on Monday to discuss in more details the terms from Japan…we have a pipeline with them right now, but certainly not in the amounts that were announced by Prime Minister Abe,” he said.
He recalled when he was the agriculture chief of President Corazon Aquino, the government then announced the development of the Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) area where most of the projects were financed through Japanese ODA.
He said a lot of Japanese companies put up their companies in the Calabarzon.
“So, we are looking forward to a similar move but probably do this integrated area development projects farther away from the greater Manila or the the mega Manila area,” Domingez said.
“We’re looking, we will look here in Mindanao. We’ll look up north, beyond Pampanga and those areas to develop infrastructure that will allow companies to locate and create jobs and to provide jobs as well as exports for the country,” said Dominguez.
But since Abe’s announcement of assistance was only made last Thursday during his joint statement with
President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang, Dominguez said the government will have to consult with the Japanese counterparts as to “whether their priorities match with ours. And I’m pretty sure they will.”
Dominguez said the ODA could finance not only hard infrastructure but education, training, and other services.
With Abe’s pledge to the Philippines and that of China during Duterte’s state visit to Beijing in October last year, Dominguez said the government has received the highest ODA pledges amounting to about $18 billion or P1 trillion.
“From July 1st to now, the president has raised close to 1 trillion pesos in official development assistance. And I’m only counting the amounts from China and the amounts from Japan…and there are some more ODA that we have received but I haven’t counted in from various other countries,” he said. Celerina Monte/DMS