Japan envoy who experienced flight delays in PH signs loan to improve Bohol airport
MANILA, Philippines—The Japanese government has provided the Philippines fresh P23.19 billion in loans for critical transport infrastructure projects, including the upgrade of two metro railways and the construction of a higher-capacity airport in Bohol.
Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario signed loan agreements on Monday, for the P18.56-billion extension of Light Rail Transit lines 1 and 2 and construction a new P4.63-billion airport in Panglao. Urabe himself experienced less than ideal conditions at the Bohol airport during a trip in November, when his flights going in and out of the province were delayed by an hour each way. He noted that such delays had a ripple effect on other flights.
Monday’s signing formalized an earlier announcement of Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida during his visit to Manila in January.
“As you know, Japanese development aid emphasizes the importance of infrastructure. Better infrastructure creates business opportunities for private investments and more jobs. More income means more consumption and more tax input,” said Urabe on Monday .
“Improved government finance will lead to more public investment in better welfare programs. In short, economic growth becomes sustainable,” added the envoy in signing rites at the DFA headquarters in Pasay City, Monday afternoon.
Details of the projects have yet to be released, but the DFA said the Panglao airport project would upgrade the existing Bohol airport to international standards.
Apart from the loans, the Philippine and Japanese sides announced the award of grant aid totalling P443.33 million for the construction of hydropower projects in Ifugao and Isabela.
The DFA said the “mini hydropower projects” in the two provinces would be part of the Department of Energy’s program “to develop renewable energy resources for energy sustainability, stability and security.”
Urabe said the projects would apply Japanese technology that “use small amounts of water to generate cheap and clean electricity.” The hydropower system will also have minimal negative effect on agriculture, Urabe said.
Japan is the Philippines’ largest donor in loans and grants combined, providing P27.5 billion in total official development assistance in 2010 (latest available figure).