Duterte cites ‘Japan’s love for PH’, huge support for economic development – Manila Bulletin
President Duterte expressed his gratitude to Japan for its love for the Philippines and for helping the country in its economic development as if it were part of the Japanese archipelago.
Duterte said this while witnessing the lowering of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) of the first-ever Metro Manila Metro Project (MMSP) at the MMSP complex in Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela city on Sunday, June 12.
In his speech, the President thanked Japan for its partnership with the Philippines in making the dream of having a metro a reality, especially the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for being an ally in initiatives that will benefit the Filipinos and will accelerate the economic development of the country.
He wondered, however, why Japan loves the Philippines so much.
“I cannot understand the love of the Japanese people for this Republic. There are so many projects in the country and pushed and sponsored by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency),” he said.
According to Duterte, he couldn’t help but feel that Japan was treating the Philippines as if it were a part of their country that needed development.
“So far, Japan has continued to help us as it seems, really, that we are part of the Japanese government,” he said.
“Para bang isang probinsya tayo (it’s as if we were a province). We are treated as almost a part of Japan that should be developed in due time,” he added.
The MMSP is the first underground rail system in the Philippines and one of the landmark projects of the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build program.
In February, the Philippines and Japan signed the 253.3 billion yen (112.1 billion pesos) loan agreement for Phase 1 of the Metro Manila Metro Project. This is the second tranche of the official development assistance loan. The first tranche of 104.53 billion yen was signed in March 2018.
The Subway project’s yen loan has an interest rate of 0.1% per annum (0.01% per annum for advisory services) and is repayable over 28 years after a 12-year grace period.
In his speech on Sunday, President Duterte said the payment terms suggest the project is already a gift from Japan.
“’Pag ganoon ang obligasyon mo, it is really gratis na ‘yan (If it’s your obligation, then it’s already really like gratis). It is a gift from the Japanese people to the Filipino people,” he said.
“Alam man nila na hirap tayo pero (They know we are poor but) for the purposes of truly – even the Philippines, [they] have to collect something, even if it is a symbolic amount so that everything is recorded and everything can be traced kung ano ang kulang, kung ano ang mali (if something is missing or wrong)”, a he added.
The MMSP will have 13 metro stations in six cities in Metro Manila: Valenzuela City, Quezon City, Pasig City, Makati City, Taguig City and parts of Parañaque City.
It will stretch north and south of Metro Manila and is expected to provide convenient public transportation for all Filipino commuters when completed.
According to the president, the project will greatly help commuters as it will be a faster mode of transportation that will effectively allow them to do other things.
“This will really help commuters, especially those coming from Quezon City and going to Ninoy Aquino International Airport, to enjoy the convenience and comfort of a fast, efficient and modern transportation system,” Duterte said. .
“It will also save travelers a lot of time and energy, giving them the opportunity to be more productive and more focused on other worthwhile projects,” he added.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan, this project will help relieve severe traffic congestion in Metro Manila by seeking to meet the growing demand for transportation.
It will also mitigate air pollution and climate change by developing a metro in Metro Manila. The implementation of this project is expected to contribute to sustainable growth by promoting investment in the Philippines.
During his 2019 visit, Duterte thanked Japan for its commitment to his government’s infrastructure program. He said the two countries have begun to build the golden age of strategic partnership.
“Our commitment and our determination testify to the desire to further expand the ties of cooperation. I dare say that given what we have accomplished and achieved, the Philippines and Japan are building a golden age [for] our strategic partnership,” Duterte said.
He also welcomed Japan’s reiteration that it is fully committed to the 1 trillion yen aid pledge to the Philippines.
“It covers [a] high-impact, high-value infrastructure projects that my country needs to sustain and drive our economic growth,” Duterte said.
“There will be some of the most ambitious and groundbreaking projects, including the Metro Manila Metro project, and major developments in regions and provinces,” he added.
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