The Philippines and Japan will further streamline their approval processes to fast-track implementation of big-ticket infrastructure projects, the Finance department said.
This “fast and sure” approach was approved during Monday’s 3rd Philippines-Japan High-Level Meeting of the Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation, the department said in a statement.
It said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd, who went to Tokyo for the meeting, declared that “significant milestones” had been reached with regard to a jointly agreed project list.
“Now that our plans have progressed, we intend to lay out specific plans on how to expedite the processing and implementation of the flagship projects,” Dominguez was quoted as saying during his opening remarks.
Expedited approval processes and additional measures would lead to “more efficient decision making and swift execution” in areas such as project preparation, land acquisition and resettlement, he added.
The Finance chief said the shortening of approval processes would depend on the “complexity of the projects,” among other factors.
“Our regular rounds of high-level meetings have brought about significant changes in the way we do things. Needless to say, we hope to continue pushing for improvements in order to accomplish more in less time,” he said.
Dominguez said the close cooperation between the Philippines and Japan “has not only enabled high-level collaboration” in their bilateral meetings “but also technical-level exchanges on the ground.”
These include a mission dispatched by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the proposed Metro Manila Subway as well as the visit of the Philippines’ “Build Build Build” team to the construction site of the Shin-Yokohama Subway in Tokyo.
Manila, Dominguez said, had recently introduced the “3-in-1” process where approvals needed for projects utilizing official development assistance loans would all be issued during National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board meetings.
The Finance department said Philippine and Japanese officials continued discussions on candidate and in-the-pipeline projects, after which “both sides reaffirmed to continue holding expert-level consultations to address issues concerning railway projects to ensure their smooth implementation.
“Both sides reaffirmed to continue discussions on a mid-and long-term action plan on anti-illegal drug measures and on a document indicating the future direction of the Philippines-Japan cooperation for the next five years, which are targeted to be announced at a future Philippines-Japan summit meeting,” the department added.