MIZUHO Bank, one of Japan’s largest commercial banks, has expressed interest in expanding its footprint in the Philippines, particularly in the field of infrastructure, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Friday.
The DOF quoted Mizuho Bank Ltd. President and Chief Executive Officer Nobuhide Hayashi as saying that the recent state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Japan was an important development in the bilateral relations between the two countries that “sent positive signals” to Japanese investors.
“We want to expand our business here, and we ask for your support,” Hayashi was quoted as saying in a meeting with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd.
Dominguez, meanwhile, invited Hayashi to focus Mizuho Bank’s efforts on infrastructure, an area where the government plans to invest heavily to fill the gap left behind by previous administrations.
Hayashi said Mizuho Bank was “very interested in infrastructure” as part of its expansion plans here and that the bank is organizing a seminar in Japan for investors interested in the Philippines.
He said Mizuho Bank os aware of one of the Philippines’ major infrastructure projects—the Philippine National Railways’ North-South Commuter Railway Project in Luzon—which will be funded with development assistance loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The initial phase of the project involves a 38-kilometer elevated commuter rail from Tutuban, Manila, to Malolos, Bulacan.
JICA has also been providing assistance to the Philippines in the area of maritime safety capability.
The two countries earlier signed a 16.5-billion yen (about P6.8 billion) concessional loan agreement, covered by Tokyo’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), for the acquisition of two large-scale patrol vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
The loan is part of Tokyo’s continuing assistance to the PCG’s Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project (MSCIP). The JICA loan carries a concessional interest rate of between 0.01 percent and 0.10 percent, with a maturity of 40 years including a 10-year grace period, according to the DOF.
The acquisition of two 94-meter large-scale patrol ships under Phase Two of the MSCIP is on top of the ongoing ODA from Japan for the first phase of the project, which involves the procurement of 10 units of 40-meter PCG patrol vessels.
One of the 10 patrol vessels was delivered to the Philippines on August 16, while the second vessel is expected to be turned over by December this year at the Japan Marine United Shipyard in Yokohama. The targeted completion of the delivery of all 10 vessels is set on August 2018.
Japan has also announced additional assistance for the PCG through a 600-million yen grant (about P280 million) for the procurement of high-speed boats and other equipment to boost the Philippines’ anti-terrorism and security activities.
This includes the acquisition of one 20-meter high-speed vessel and 14 units of 11-meter high-speed boats.