July 19, 2024

The Philippines will explore more opportunities to tap additional financing and technical support from Japan as the government shifts to higher gear this year the implementation of President Duterte’s centerpiece program “Build, Build, Build,” Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez III said.
During his bilateral meeting with Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Dominguez also thanked Japan and its people “for being a steady force in (the Philippines’) economic and development journey.” 
Dominguez said he looks forward to more frequent consultations with the Japanese government in the coming period, as the Philippines continues on the path to rapid and inclusive economic growth. 
“As our ambitious ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program accelerates this year, we see more opportunities for financing and technical support from the Government of Japan,” Dominguez said at the opening of his bilateral meeting with Minister Motegi at the Department of Finance office in Manila Jan. 9.
Motegi said the relationship between the Philippines and Japan under the leadership of President Duterte and Prime Minister Shinzó Abe is now at a “golden age” where both countries continue “to enjoy broad-based and multi-layer development, including in the economy, infrastructure development, security, and people-to-people exchanges.” 
He expressed his condolences and sympathies to the victims of last year’s   earthquake in Mindanao and offered Japan’s support, knowledge and experience in disaster response and risk reduction.  
“Under the recently launched Overseas Loan and Investment Initiative for ASEAN, we are ready to newly mobilize $3 billion from public and private sectors over the next three years, including a total of $1.2B in overseas loans and investments for ASEAN by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). Let us continue to jointly discuss how to formulate development projects that can be the subject under this initiative,” Motegi said. 
He also reiterated Japan’s support for the Philippines’ Build, Build, Build program and welcomed the great progress on infrastructure development cooperation between the two countries. 
He also stressed that “support for Mindanao is another major pillar of Japan’s cooperation” with the Philippines and offered support for the development of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 
Dominguez and Motegi met to discuss new areas of expanding the robust bilateral relationship between their two countries, the progress of the infrastructure projects under Build, Build, Build that are implemented with funding and technical support from Japan, and other fields of economic cooperation. 
On the trilateral cooperation among the Philippines, Japan and the Asian Development Bank, Dominguez said he looks forward to continuing the comprehensive partnership with the multilateral institution with the support of incoming ADB  president Masatsugu Asakawa, who is set to assume the bank’s top post next week. 
Dominguez attributed the Philippines’ economic gains, in part, to its strong partnership  with Japan,  which has significantly increased its official development assistance (ODA) to the country over the past few years as demonstrated by the 10 loan agreements signed between the two countries since President Duterte assumed office in 2016.
To date, Japan remains the Philippines’ leading source of ODA. 
He also thanked Japan for its support in formulating a masterplan for the development of the Subic Bay area and its surrounding communities. 
“With the memorandum of cooperation for this commitment signed last month in Hakone, we look forward to Japan’s swift creation of the action plan for this project,” Dominguez said. 
Through the Philippines-Japan High-Level Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation, he said the approval process for the loan agreements between the two countries have been shortened by an average of three to four months.
Dominguez said with Japan’s unwavering commitment to the Philippines’ comprehensive development, the Duterte administration has been able to put in place game-changing policy reforms to fully unleash the country’s economic potentials. – DOF release