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PH getting $2.35B in soft loans from Jica in 2020

By: Ben O. de Vera - Philippine Daily Inquirer June 17,2020 - 07:45 AM

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III | Inquirer File Photo

Even as it also struggled amid the COVID-19 crisis, Japan through its aid arm, Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), is extending to the Philippines this year some $2.35 billion (about P117 billion) in loans at low interest rates for infrastructure building and containment of the pandemic.

On Tuesday, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III on behalf of the Philippine government and Jica chief representative in the Philippines Eigo Azukizawa signed two loan agreements covering 119 billion yen (P57 billion) for the 3.3-kilometer Cebu-Mactan fourth bridge and construction of 4.9-km four-lane coastal road, and the 35-billion-yen (P18.5-billion) supplemental financing for Davao City bypass construction.

Dominguez said the Cebu project was so far the biggest infrastructure project in the Visayas under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program, with three-fourths of the P76.4-billion project cost to be covered by the Jica loan.

“It will create jobs in the Queen City of the South and dramatically improve movement of goods and people. Through this project, travel time from Mactan-Cebu International Airport to the Cebu port area will be reduced to 27 minutes from the current 44 minutes,” Dominguez said.

“The conduct of the detailed engineering design for this project will also be financed by Jica through a grant. This project will break ground in 2021 and is expected to be completed in 2029,” he added.

Meanwhile, the additional financing for the 45.5-km four-lane bypass road in Mindanao will cut travel time between Barangay Sirawan in Toril, Davao City and Barangay JP Laurel in Panabo City to 49 minutes from one hour and 44 minutes through Maharlika Highway at present, Dominguez said.

The project also covers a 2.3-km mountain tunnel that will directly connect barangays Matina Biao and Waan in Davao City, reducing travel time between the said points to less than five minutes from the usual 44 minutes when passing through local roads. Advanced Japanese know-how and technology will be adopted for the construction of the bypass road and tunnel. Construction will start this year and will be operational by 2023, he said. INQ

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TAGS: Dominguez, JICA, pandemic

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