• JICA pledges commitment to Duterte’s 10-pt agenda

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    THE Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is backing President Rodrigo Duterte’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda, particularly the initiatives to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila and attain lasting peace in Mindanao.

    JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka conveyed the Japanese aid agency’s position during a recent courtesy call on Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd.

    Among the priority goals of the 10-point socioeconomic agenda are poverty reduction, creation of a law-abiding and peaceful society, lasting peace with armed insurgents, and maintaining warm and cordial relations with Asian neighbors, Dominguez told Kitaoka.

    The Philippines intends to address issues concerning the value-added tax (VAT) on JICA projects in the country funded by Official Development Assistance (ODA).

    Finance Undersecretary Maria Edita Tan, who was at the meeting, noted Dominguez and Kitaoka talked about cooperation in several projects not only in the metropolis, including a plan to build a Mega Manila subway, but also in other parts of the country.

    “Mr. Kitaoka expressed his commitment to support the President’s agenda, particularly on urban transport infrastructure projects to address Metro Manila’s traffic congestion, and the peace process in Mindanao,” said Tan, who heads the International Finance Group (IFG) of the Department of Finance (DOF).

    “Both sides exchanged views to further cooperate and look into the pipeline projects for cooperation with Japan, such as on the procurement of 94-meter vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard, the Mega Manila subway – the study of which is expected to be completed in August 2017 – and the planned technical assistance to support Davao City’s urban planning,” she added.

    Also at the meeting were Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, IFG Director Rommel Herrera and Bolivar Bao, acting director of the Northeast Asia Division, Department of Foreign Affairs Office of Asia and Pacific Affairs.

    The JICA delegation included Susumu Ito, JICA Philippines chief representative; Yasushi Tanaka, JICA Southeast Asia and Pacific Department director general; Tetsuya Yamada, JICA Philippines senior representative; Bumpei Sugano, Japanese embassy economic section second secretary; and Eigo Azukizawa, Office of the JICA President special assistant.

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