MANILA – The Governments of the Philippines and Japan have advanced their cooperation efforts to improve transport infrastructure in Metro Manila through a roadmap aimed to establish a modern and efficient transportation network taking off from the NEDA Board-approved Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metropolitan Manila and its Surrounding Areas.

The Cooperation Roadmap for Quality Infrastructure Development in the Transport Sector in Metropolitan Manila Area is intended to steer the development programs and projects, as well as harmonize efforts on transport projects in Metro Manila.  It is also meant to guide the development of policies, design, and prioritization of transport-related projects in the short-, medium-, and long-term.

As part of the Joint Declaration for Strengthened Strategic Partnership signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during President Aquino’s state visit to Japan in June 2015, a “Cooperation Roadmap” called for the convening of a Ministerial-Level Committee, which held its first meeting today, to review the progress of projects assisted by Japan.

The meeting, co-chaired by Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa, specifically involved discussions on studies being undertaken by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the possible implementation of the Mega Manila Subway and New Manila International Airport projects.

Also tackled were the Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project, the Exchange of Notes and Loan Agreement for which were signed on 25 August 2015, and the North-South Commuter Railway Project (Malolos – Tutuban), the Exchange of Notes and Loan Agreement signing for which are expected to be signed in the near future.

The meeting was also attended by Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Department of Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco, MMDA Deputy Chairman Alex Ramon Cabanilla, and officials of the Department of Finance, Department of Foreign Affairs, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, and JICA.