August 25, 2015
Department of Foreign Affairs, Manila, the Philippines
Honorable Albert Del Rosario, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs
Honorable Cesar Purisima, Secretary of the Department of Finance
Honorable Rogelio Singson, Secretary of Department of Public Works and Highways
His Excellency Kazuhide Ishikawa, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great honor and privilege to be here today as we signed the Loan Agreements for two vital infrastructure projects - the Davao City Bypass Construction Project (South and Centre Sections) and the Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project. JICA is committed to facilitating "quality infrastructure investment" in the Philippines. I believe that these two projects are good examples of how we work towards this goal through knowledge-sharing and technology transfers from Japan.
The Davao City Bypass Construction Project aims to improve transportation efficiency within the Davao metropolitan area and to mitigate congestion in Davao City.
The project includes a 2 km-length tunnel component, which is the first large-scale tunnel construction in the Philippines. Using the ODA loan scheme known as Special Terms for Economic Partnership, or STEP, to finance this project, we will transfer technologies and know-how developed by Japanese firms for tunnel construction and operation.
The Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project will support the first phase of improving key bridges by strengthening their resilience to earthquakes. I believe it is particularly timely to improve two vital bridges on the Pasig River in light of the country's broader efforts to reinforce earthquake preparedness in the Metro Manila region.
The construction will follow the Philippines' new bridge construction design standard. JICA has supported the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in formulating this standard, which incorporates resilience measures against earthquakes. We will apply the STEP scheme for this project as well, and Japanese know-how will be used not only for seismic reinforcement, but also for rapid construction methods. This will allow for construction to take place efficiently and with limited impact on traffic. I hope this approach will minimize traffic congestion during the construction period.
I am convinced and delighted that, with your Excellencies' strong leadership, the Philippines remains well on track toward social and economic development that is both vibrant and inclusive. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of our counterparts in the Philippine Government for your cooperation and continued support of JICA's work. Needless to say, JICA is committed to supporting the Philippines as you work towards further developing your country.
Thank you very much.
Maraming salamat po. MABUHAY.