High-level Philippine delegation to fly to Tokyo for 3rd infra cooperation meeting
The Philippine government’s economic team will be in Japan on Sept. 25 to discuss with Japanese officials ways of speeding up the implementation of the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure projects for possible funding by Japan and separately brief potential investors on the prospects for the Philippine economy.
The meeting in Tokyo of the Philippines-Japan High-Level Committee on Infrastructure and Economic Cooperation will be the third such dialogue since the first was held also in that Japanese city in March this year.
The second high-level committee meeting was held in July in Manila, where Secretary Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), who co-chairs, with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the committee for the Philippines, announced an indicative list of projects with an estimated total cost of P315.4 billion that were pipelined for possible Japanese financing.
According to Dominguez the third high-level committee meeting will focus on ways to speed up the processing and implementation of timelines of the flagship infra projects that are being eyed for possible Japanese financing.
“We want to discuss with them how we can fast-track the process of implementing the projects,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said on the Philippines' end, the government is set to implement measures that would speed up the approval process for its big-ticket infra projects.
The finance chief said the Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CC) will seek the approval by the NEDA Board chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte of a new "3-in-1" streamlined process so that the time devoted to the necessary government actions prior to the processing for infra projects funded by Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans would be reduced from the usual four to eight weeks to just one NEDA Board meeting.
Under the streamlined “3-in-1” process, Dominguez said the NEDA Board approval; the issuance of the Special Presidential authority (SPA) to government officials to negotiate and sign the loan, guarantee or grant agreement for the project; and the Forward Obligational Authority by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) would be issued simultaneously during a single NEDA Board meeting.
Expected to join the delegation are Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Secretaries Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); and Vivencio Dizon, president of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).
They are set to meet with Hiroto Izumi, a special advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who heads the Japan side of the high-level committee; along with officials from the Japan Ministries of Finance, of Foreign Affairs, of Trade and Industry, of Economy and of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; and officials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).
Pernia earlier said the Philippines presented during the high level committee meeting in July the following projects for possible Japanese financing: 1) Malitubog- Maridagao Irrigation Project Phase II, 2) Metro Manila Subway Project Phase I, 3) Malolos-Clark Railway Project, 4)Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project, 5) Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project, 6) Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas inMindanao, 7)Circumferential Road 3 Missing Link Project, and 8) the Pasig Marikina Channel Improvement Project (Phase IV).
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe committed during his visit to Davao City in January a total of 1 trillion yen in official development assistance (ODA) and investments to the Philippines for the next five years.
On September 26, the Philippine delegation will also hold a briefing on the Philippine economy with potential Japanese investors.
This briefing will be similar to the one held by Philippine Cabinet officials in Singapore last month.
In the economic roadshow, Dominguez is expected to tell investors about the Duterte administration’s plans to sustain the economy’s growth rate at seven percent or higher over the medium term through an ambitious "Build, Build, Build" program. DMS