October 29, 2019
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is backing eight ongoing road and bridge projects in the Philippines amounting to JP¥ 138,130 million to help enhance connectivity, attract investments, and create jobs in the country. Said projects are part of the bilateral aid agency's support to the government's Philippine Development Plan and Build Build Build agenda meant to increase the Philippines' infrastructure spending to P8-9 trillion pesos by 2022.
These road projects include the Central Luzon Link Expressway, Arterial Road Bypass, Metro Manila Interchange, Road Upgrading and Preservation, Road Network Development in Mindanao, Marawi road project as well as Davao City Bypass, that will construct the first-ever long distance (2.3 kilometers) mountain tunnel in the Philippines and the Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project to improve seismic resilience of Lambingan and Guadalupe Bridges in Metro Manila. Said projects are being implemented with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
"We want to help the Philippines improve the conditions of its roads and bridges so more investments can come into the Philippines and more jobs will be created. Our support is also part of our commitment to building quality infrastructure in the region to boost economic development and build resiliency against natural disasters in the Asian region," said JICA Senior Representative Kiyo Kawabuchi who spoke during an international gathering of stakeholders at the recent Roads and Traffic Expo in Manila.
The Philippine government has approved the JICA-NEDA's Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Its Surrounding Areas study in 2014 to sustain development by decongesting traffic, and spread economic growth in nearby areas. According to the roadmap follow-up study, no interventions could mean worsening traffic and increase of transport costs from P3.5 billion a day to P5.4 billion a day.
Aside from hard infrastructure like building roads, bridges, and railways, JICA is also supporting transport infrastructure development through soft measures such as institutional support, capacity building, and technology transfer. One example of the latter is sharing Japan's expertise in road maintenance under the recently completed Project for Improvement of Quality Management for Highway and Bridge Construction and Maintenance.
Of the total Official Development Assistance (ODA) of JICA in the Philippines, transport infrastructure accounts for 80% development support from 2013 to 2017 that also includes roads and railways.
Japan is the Philippines' leading ODA partner with ODA disbursement amounting to US$352 million in 2017. This year, the DPWH recognized JICA as Development Aid Partner for the Year for infrastructure support in the Mission: PHL Envoys and Expats Award.