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Japan to finance MRT rehab

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Japan plans to extend official development assistance (ODA) loans to the Philippines with an additional P20.6 billion to fund two infrastructure projects, including upgrading the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 railway in Manila, as it strongly supports the sustainable economic development of the country.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono expressed his country’s intention to extend ODA loan financing, subject to the necessary Japanese and Philippine governments’ approval processes for the projects, during the Japan-Philippines Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Tokyo.

“Based on this pledge, the government of Japan and the government of the Philippines are scheduled to sign an exchange of notes concerning the yen loans in the future,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan said in a statement.

Kono told Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano that total loan provision of up to P18.45 billion for the MRT Line 3 Rehabilitation Project and another P2.2 billion for the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project, are planned for earmarking.

In response to a request from the Philippine government, Japan will provide the funds necessary to rehabilitate the MRT Line-3, the 17-kilometer train running the stretch of EDSA with a total of 13 stations.

Japan will utilize its technology to upgrade the line to quality infrastructure, thereby improving the safety and comfort of the railway.

“It is expected that due to the rehabilitation of the MRT 3 Line, approximately twice as many trains as currently will run appropriately by 2022 (two years after the completion of the project), greatly improving their transport volume, alleviating the serious traffic congestion in Metro Manila, and contributing to the alleviation of air pollution and climate change,” MOFA said.

Likewise, Japan offered additional funds for construction of a new airport in Bohol province in a bid to handle the increasing passenger numbers.

“It is expected that due to the construction of the new Bohol airport, the province will be able to handle nearly three times as many aircraft arrivals and departures as before, improving the convenience and safety of air transportation, and contributing to the revitalization and sustainable growth of the region,” the statement added.

During the fifth meeting of the Japan-Philippines Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation in Tokyo, participants from two countries discussed approaches to cooperating to resolve the significant challenges the Philippines is addressing.

These also include the rehabilitation of the MRT-3 Line, the Metro Manila subway project, and other infrastructure development projects, as well as assistance to development in Mindanao based on the progress of the peace process.

Infrastructure development in Metro Manila and the regions are among the major fields of cooperation identified under the Japan-Philippines joint statement on bilateral cooperation for the next five years.

In the joint statement issued during the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Japan last October, the Japanese government would actively support the sustainable economic development of the Philippines by extending quality infrastructure assistance, utilizing its funding and technology to the maximum extent, for developments under “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program. PNA

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