The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is supporting eight road and bridge projects in the Philippines amounting to 138.130 billion yen (or approximately P64.63 billion) to help boost connectivity, attract investments and create employment opportunities in the country.
JICA said in a statement yesterday these road projects are the Central Luzon Link expressway, Arterial Road Bypass, Metro Manila Interchange, Road Upgrading and Preservation, Road Network Development in Mindanao, and Marawi road project.
Also included are the Davao City Bypass that will construct the first-ever long distance mountain tunnel in the Philippines, and the Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project to improve seismic resilience of Lambingan and Guadalupe bridges in Metro Manila.
The projects are being implemented with the Department of Public Works and Highways.
“We want to help the Philippines improve the conditions of its roads and bridges so more investments can come into the Philippines and more jobs will be created,” Kiyo Kawabuchi, JICA senior representative, said during an international gathering of stakeholders at the recent Roads and Traffic Expo in Manila.
“Our support is also part of our commitment to building quality infrastructure in the region to boost economic development and build resiliency against natural disasters in the Asian region,” he added.
JICA said the projects are part of the bilateral aid agency’s support to the government’s Philippine Development Plan and Build, Build, Build agenda meant to increase the Philippines’ infrastructure spending to P8 trillion to P9 trillion pesos by 2022.
The Philippine government has approved the JICA and National Economic and Development Authority’s Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Its Surrounding Areas study in 2014, to sustain development by decongesting traffic and spread economic growth in nearby areas.
According to the roadmap follow-up study, no interventions could mean worsening traffic and increase of transport costs from P3.5 billion a day to P5.4 billion a day.
Aside from hard infrastructure like building roads, bridges and railways, JICA said it is also supporting transport infrastructure development through soft measures such as institutional support, capacity building and technology transfer.
One example of the latter is sharing Japan’s expertise in road maintenance under the recently completed Project for Improvement of Quality Management for Highway and Bridge Construction and Maintenance.
Of the total Official Development Assistance (ODA) of JICA in the Philippines, transport infrastructure accounts for 80 percent development support from 2013 to 2017 that also includes roads and railways.
Japan is the Philippines’ leading ODA partner with ODA disbursement amounting to $352 million in 2017.