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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        28  March 2011

Japan assures Philippines of loans

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Loan assistance from Tokyo will not dry up in the near term despite the disaster that hit Japan, and as proof of this, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is pushing through with a multi-billion-peso loan aimed at improving the Philippines’ road network.

“Japan is committed to their [loan] commitments over the short-term,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga said, citing the assurances made by Japan’s Ministry of Finance in a meeting held last week.

Paderanga said short-term means this year and includes on-going projects.

For those projects not yet committed, “they will look at it if it will fit within budget constraints. Japan like the Philippines has some narrower fiscal space than before but at the same time, their current account is still in large surplus, even larger than ours, so the resources are there, although, access will depend on government use,” Paderanga said, adding that Tokyo has “big pockets.”

“But it depends on how they will choose to manage this [money],” the planning chief said. Documents from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) showed that the potential yen loan assistance for this year would include the P34.16 billion Road Upgrading and Preservation Project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the P5.87 billion Forestland Management Project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources JICA, the Department of Finance and the DPWH will sign on March 30 a 40.8-billion yen, or P21.4 billion project aimed at enhancing the functionality, efficiency and sustainability of national roads in the Philippines through the improvement of arterial national roads across the country.

The 25-year loan will carry an annual interest of 1.4 percent and a grace period of seven years.

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