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Japan extends P5B aid to Philippines for forest management

/ 06:12 PM September 28, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—Japan has allocated 9.24 billion yen (about P5.08 billion) in official development assistance (ODA) to the Philippine government’s forest management programs in Luzon and the Visayas, the Japanese Embassy announced Wednesday.

The new aid brought to over P27 billion Japan’s total aid to the country this year.

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In a statement, the embassy said Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario signed on Tuesday (September 27) the soft-loan agreement in Tokyo.

“The event was witnessed by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III,” the mission said.

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According to the embassy, the latest ODA “attests to Japan’s continuing commitment to support the development efforts of the Philippine government under the leadership of President Aquino.”

The soft loan, with interest of 0.3 percent per year and a repayment period of 40 years, will be coursed through the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The government project will benefit three critical river basins in Cagayan, Pampanga and Iloilo, said the embassy.

It noted that “for many decades, Japan has been a long-standing partner of the Philippines in the protection and rehabilitation of its environment and natural resources through sustainable forest management.”

“This new project aims to strengthen forest management, involving such components such as forest land use planning, capacity building and construction of agro-forestry support facilities. Utilizing the participatory approach, the activities for the project includes ecological restoration of degraded forest lands, enhancement of upland economic development, and establishment of improved watershed management systems, among others,” the embassy said

The project will also “contribute to (government) efforts related to climate change and prevention of disasters, as well as poverty reduction,” the embassy added.

In July, the Japanese government provided over P435 million in fresh aid to the Philippines.

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The funds will used for the construction of emergency evacuation centers in Albay, a human resource training center in Cotabato City and new classrooms in North Cotabato, said the embassy.

Del Rosario thanked Tokyo for its “generous and timely aid” to Manila, stressing “disaster preparedness and response is one of the key areas of Philippines-Japan bilateral cooperation.”

For his part, Urabe pointed out that Japan “has supported the Philippines’ disaster mitigation efforts by sharing its experiences and lessons learned from past natural disasters.”

The aid “reaffirms the continued commitment of Japan to extend cooperation in minimizing threats of disaster,” he added.

Early this year, Japan extended nearly 41 billion yen (about P21.5 billion) in ODA for the improvement of Philippine arterial roads.

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TAGS: Diplomacy, Environment, forestry, Japan, official development assistance, Philippines
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