The Philippines and Japan have signed exchange of notes on two official development assistance (ODA) projects geared toward enhancing defense and transport capabilities at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. and Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines Koji Haneda signed the notes on the Grant Aid of the Government of Japan to the Philippines of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force UH-1H Parts and Maintenance Equipment to the Philippine Air Force (PAF), as well as the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3) Rehabilitation.
In his remarks, Locsin noted Japan’s support to the Philippines’s development objectives.
“Throughout the years, Japan has vigorously and unfailingly supported the priorities of the Philippine government for the well-being of the Filipino people, and in particular through economic and development assistance, as well as in enhancing our defense and security capabilities,” Locsin said.
“It is [the kind of] help that has no agenda but friendship, decency, and a deep and abiding regard, as much for the safety and well-being of neighbors, as for oneself,” he added.
“This is why we have elevated our relationship with Japan to a strategic partnership. Today’s exchange of notes affirms this ever-growing, mutually beneficial and gratifying relationship between our two countries and our two peoples,” the secretary further stated.
FOR his part, Haneda reflected on the successes of the Philippine-Japan partnership, as his country remains to be committed to its “joint work.”
“With the signing of these two projects, let me assure you that we do not only mark our commitments on paper; we also pledge our all-out efforts in bringing these projects into successful completion,” the ambassador stated.
The grant aid on parts and maintenance equipment to the PAF involves Japan’s grant of some ¥10.68 billion—about P5 billion—worth of spare parts and maintenance equipment of UH-1H helicopters by the Japan Self-Defense Forces consisting of the following categories: airframe structure, dynamic power system, control system, rotor system, hydraulic system, electrical system, instrument system, accessory equipment and others.
The UH-1H helicopters are used in the PAF’s activities related to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, transport, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
MEANWHILE, the project on the MRT 3 involves a complete rehabilitation to restore its design capacity and reliability, the general overhaul of the entire fleet of 72 light-rail vehicles, and day-to-day maintenance.
The ¥38-billion (around P17.79-billion) loan facility will be used to cover the railway line’s trains, power supply system, overhead catenary system, radio system, closed-circuit television system, public address system, signaling system, rail tracks, road rail vehicles, depot equipment, elevators and escalators, as well as other station-building equipment.
The project will have a duration of 43 months, with the rehabilitation to be completed in the first 26 months, and the general overhaul by the 43rd month.
Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John R. Batan, Finance Undersecretary for the International Finance Group Atty. Mark Dennis Y.C. Joven, Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica)-Tokyo Senior Vice President Yasushi Tanaka, Jica-Philippines Chief Representative Yoshio Wada, as well as officials from the DFA, the Departments of Finance, Transportation and National Defense, the Japanese Embassy and Jica witnessed the exchanges of notes.
Japan is the Philippines’s top ODA partner, and has contributed significantly to the latter’s development and capacity building measures in various areas, including infrastructure, security, health, trade, tourism, human resources, agriculture, education, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, among many others.
The two countries celebrated the 60th anniversary of the normalization of their diplomatic relations in 2016.
Image credits: DFA Photo