Officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Philippine Office held talks on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, where both parties tackled efforts to strengthen bilateral relations on building quality infrastructure for sustainable development.
In a courtesy visit to DPWH Secretary Roger G. Mercado, Economic Minister Masahiro Nakata of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines and JICA Philippines Chief Representative Eigo Azukizawa has assured their full support to the new DPWH Chief by providing technical cooperation for on-going and new pipeline infrastructure projects.
Secretary Mercado lauded Japan’s continued support to the Philippines with trusted partnership between DPWH and JICA as he noted that the Department under his leadership will keep up the ties in pursuing more development projects aimed at improving transport infrastructure in both urban and rural areas and in mitigating disasters.
The DPWH Secretary was assisted by Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain in welcoming the Japanese delegation at DPWH that also have Embassy of Japan Second Secretary Tomohiro Matsubara; and JICA Philippines Senior Representatives Kenji Kuronuma, Ayumu Ohshima, and Yo Ebisawa.
I wish to once again express my heartfelt gratitude for Embassy of Japan and JICA-Philippines officers for taking the time to visit DPWH despite busy schedule, Secretary Mercado added.
According to Undersecretary Sadain, in-charge of DPWH Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations that handles large-scale infrastructure programs of the Department under Official Development Assistance (ODA) financing, JICA has over the years been constantly beside the Philippines in the efforts to pursue much-needed physical infrastructures for the improvement of lives of the Filipinos.
The Government of Japan thru JICA has been one of Philippines closest partners as the largest source of ODA to finance several flagship infrastructure projects in the Build, Build, Build program of the President Rodrigo Duterte administration under DPWH implementation.
“Numerous development projects in the countryside demonstrates how Japan and the Philippines enjoy a deep and warm relationship akin to that of a family or siblings”, said Undersecretary Sadain.
Among the DPWH UPMO flagship infrastructure projects in Luzon financed by the Japanese government are the widening from 2 lanes to 4 lanes the 24.61 kilometer (km) including ten (10) bridges of Arterial Road (Plaridel) Bypass Project between Brgy. Burol, Balagtas to Brgy. Maasim, San Rafael in the Province of Bulacan under JICA Loan Agreement No. PH-P266; 30 km 4 lane Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) Project from the connection of Subic - Clark - Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and Tarlac - Pangasinan - La Union Expressway (TPLEX) in Balingcanaway, Tarlac City and ends at the Pan-Philippine Highway or Daang Maharlika in Caalibangbangan, Cabanatuan City under JICA Loan Agreement No. PH-P249; Metro Manila Priority Bridge Seismic Improvement Project for two (2) major bridges in Metro Manila, namely the Lambingan Bridge and Guadalupe Bridge, under JICA Loan Agreement Nos. PH-P260 and PH-P272; channel improvement works for Middle Marikina River including the construction of Manggahan Control Gate Structure and construction of Cainta Floodgate and Taytay Sluicegate at the joining sections of Cainta and Taytay rivers to Mangahan Floodway under the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project Phase IV funded by JICA Loan Agreement No. PH-P271; Flood Risk Management Project for Cagayan River in Region 2 and Imus River in Region 4A under JICA Loan Agreement No. PH-P253; and Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project under JICA Loan Agreement No. PH-P265.
In Visayas, detailed engineering design study under JICA Grant is on-going for the Cebu-Mactan Bridge (4th Bridge) and Coastal Road Construction Project to be funded by JICA Loan Agreement No. PH-P274.
DPWH and JICA are also working together towards peace and development in Mindanao. JICA provided a 2 Billion Japanese yen or approximately ₱970 Million donation/grant for the design and build of 18.97 km Marawi Transcentral Road Phase 1 under the Programme for the Support to Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Marawi City and Its surrounding Areas.
In addition to this grant assistance, JICA is also financing the construction of another 18.78 km Marawi Transcentral Road Phase 3 together with other projects to support peace building included in the Road Network Development Project in Conflict Affected Areas is Mindanao (RNDP-CAAM) under JICA Loan Agreement No. PH-F-P1.
Construction of the 4 lane 45.50 km Davao City Bypass Construction Project is also on-going funded by Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) Loan from JICA under Loan Agreement Nos. PH-P261 and PH-P273. Under the STEP loan that will promote transfer of outstanding Japanese engineering technology and expertise, the main contract is Japan tied but allows a joint venture in addition to the Japanese company.
To protect flood prone areas and strengthen the resiliency to climate change, the Flood Risk Management Project in Cagayan De Oro River funded under JICA Loan Agreement PH-P259 is also on-going that features innovative technology and design approach based on a 25-year flood return period for resilient flood management.
These UPMO projects are under the supervision of Project Director Benjamin A. Bautista of Roads Management Cluster 1 (Bilateral), Project Director Ramon Arriola III of Flood Control Management Cluster, and Project Director Rodrigo Delos Reyes of Bridge Management Cluster who were all present during the courtesy visit of Japanese officials as well as DPWH Region 8 Director Nerrie Bueno.
The flagship infrastructure projects are in keeping with the Philippine government’s goal to sustain rapid growth, attract investments and attain economic inclusion for all Filipinos.