Japan has announced that it will provide ¥154 billion (US$1.4 billion) in loans to alleviate traffic congestion, as well as ¥3.1 billion (US$29 million) to improve agriculture, healthcare, and human resource development in the Philippines.
Japan plans to support the construction of coastal roads and a bridge connecting Cebu Island to Mactan Island, as well as a bypass that connects the south of Davao City with its ports. Cebu is the second-largest metropolitan area in the Philippines (population: 2.85 million as of 2015) and is a rapidly growing trade center. The population of Cebu is expected to reach 3.8 million by 2030, however, its transportation capacity has not kept pace with its rapid urbanization. Similarly, Davao City has achieved high economic growth in recent years and its economic importance is expected to grow.
As part of this announcement, Japan also committed to 1) provide agricultural machinery (for example, tractors) to improve sugar harvest; 2) provide health and medical equipment (for example, CT Scanners and MRI systems) to bolster the Philippines' response to COVID-19; and 3) finance the enrollment of 22 young government officials in graduate schools in Japan to develop human resources. Compared to the Philippines’ economic growth rate of 6% to 7%, the agricultural sector has been growing at a significantly slower rate. As for COVID-19, there were over 16,000 cases and 920 deaths in the Philippines, and the medical infrastructure is not sufficient for tackling the pandemic. Finally, the Philippines lacks adequate human resources, organizations, systems, finances, and capabilities to address all of the development challenges it faces, including those described above.