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November 18, 2014

Successful Philippine Economic Briefing Contributed by JICA

photoNearly 400 attendees fill the venue.

The Government of the Philippines held a Philippine Economic Briefing (Forum) in Tokyo on October 8, 2014. Headed by Cesar V. Purisima, secretary of finance, the Philippine Delegation comprised secretaries and high-ranking officials of the Department of Finance, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and the Department of Energy (DOE), among others.

The forum, titled “Sustaining Inclusive Growth through Infrastructure and Capital Market Development,” aimed to promote investment in the Philippines’ financial and infrastructure sectors, and was attended by nearly 400 attendees from various companies, mostly belonging to the financial and construction sectors. The significant number of attendees is a testament of the growing interest of Japanese investors in the Philippines.

The presentation material is available below.

The Philippines has become a “VIP”

photoMegumi Muto, right, deputy director general of JICA Southeast Asia and the Pacific Department appeas a panelist.

It has been more than 10 years since Goldman Sachs announced the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) as fast-growing economies. Nikkei BP named the VIPs (Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines) as the next drivers of global economic growth. It is said that the VIPs will most likely surpass the BRICs’ average GDP growth rate 20 to 30 years from now. The newly formed middle class (defined as a household with a disposal income/year exceeding 5,000 USD) will be around 59 million in Vietnam, 217 million in Indonesia, and 73 million in the Philippines by 2020.

The Philippines has been recently projecting a favorable image to investors in Japan. Although the Philippines was once regarded as a lagging ASEAN member, it has now become one of the fastest growing economies in the region. In 2013, the Philippines gained investment-grade sovereign credit ratings from major rating agencies. The fact that the forum attracted more than 400 people shows the vast interest in investing in the Philippines. It is clear that the Philippines is now regarded as a “VIP” in Japan, in both senses of the word. Speaking to the Japanese people, Secretary Purisima said, “The Philippines would like to be a partner to Japan as Mexico is to the U.S.A. ... When you look south, the Philippines will be looking north. And hopefully we can meet in between.”

JICA supported the Government of the Philippines in organizing this forum and also provided speakers for the event. Hidetoshi Irigaki, director general of JICA Southeast Asia and the Pacific Department made a presentation titled “Outlook on the Philippines’ Infrastructure Sector,” while Megumi Muto, deputy director general from the same department participated in panel discussions at the event. As the Philippine Delegation presented their plans for infrastructure investment, Irigaki explained from a development institution standpoint, the role of JICA as a solution provider at both the policy and project levels. Four areas for potential collaboration between the Philippines and Japan were highlighted, namely: (1) developing a sustainable transport network in Mega Manila, (2) increasing disaster resilience, (3) increasing energy efficiency, and (4) maximizing Value-for-Money through public-private partnerships.

With the vision of introducing valuable information from Japanese experience, policy, technology, and know-how as a solution provider, JICA provided special support to the Philippine Delegation to arrange site visits to infrastructure project sites relevant to the challenges that the Philippines is currently facing in the areas of transportation, disaster risk reduction, and energy efficiency.

Introducing Japan’s large-scale infrastructure experience

photoRene K. Limcaoco, undersecretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications, frot left, and other senior officials toured the D-runway, the fourth and newest runway of Haneda airport.

Ramon R. Jimenez, secretary of tourism, Rene K. Limcaoco, undersecretary of the DOTC, and Cosette V. Canilao, executive director of the Public-Private Partnership Center visited Haneda Airport and Keikyu Kamata Station. At Haneda Airport, they toured the D-runway, the fourth and newest runway constructed on a hybrid structure combining a reclaimed island and piled-elevated platform. The DOTC is envisioning reclamation of the Manila waterfront area to develop a new international airport that will serve the country’s national capital region. At Keikyu Kamata Station, they observed the recently renovated station structure after a decade-long project to elevate the original ground-level tracks to provide additional track capacity and eliminate road congestion at the crossings, which is expected to serve as reference for the DOTC’s flagship railway project, North-South Commuter Rail, since similar road and railway coordination is required. The delegation showed great interest at both sites, particularly on the public-private coordination mechanism utilized in the Japanese projects.

Further enhancing disaster resilience capacity

photoRogelio L. Singson, secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways, second from right, and other senior officials listen to an explanation at Ohgibashi Lock Gate.

Rogelio L. Singson, secretary of the DPWH, and Rafael C. Yabut, undersecretary of the DPWH, visited the Koto Flood Control Office of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Flood Gate Management Center, Ohgibashi Lock Gate, and the River Channel Improvement of Kyu-Nakagawa River, which manages the lowland river area called the Koto Triangles Area between two major rivers in Tokyo, the Sumida River and the Arakawa River. The visit introduced experience on how the Government of Japan and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government undertake river management and flood control projects to enhance disaster resilience, which is a common goal in Philippine contexts.

Promoting energy investment

photoM. Luz, chairperson of the National Competitive Council, third from left, and other senior officials listen to an explanation at Haneda airport.

Raul B. Aguilos, undersecretary of the DOE, and Guillermo M. Luz, chairperson of the National Competitive Council, visited Haneda Airport and Kawasaki Industrial Park, where Ajinomoto Co., Inc., and Kao Corporation are located. The theme of the site visit was to showcase various utilization options and the merits of natural gas, since the Government of the Philippines is currently considering commencing its first natural gas pipeline project. After the tour, Aguilos said, “We learned that natural gas is not only for the power plants, but is one of the core facilities for public transportation such as airports and industrial parks, and we hope that introducing the Batman 1 pipeline [Batangas – the Manila Natural Gas Pipeline Project] will attract further investment in the Philippines in various sectors and improve energy efficiency.”


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