ECONOMIC MANAGERS are set to meet with their Japanese counterparts this week to discuss the progress of Japan-backed infrastructure projects and the government’s pandemic response, the Department of Finance (DoF) said Sunday.

The DoF said in a statement that the upcoming 11th Japan-Philippines Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation will meet July 28 to discuss the progress of key infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program and other development initiatives.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua will lead the Philippine delegation to meet with Izumi Hiroto, special advisor to Japanese Prime Minister.

The Japan-funded infrastructure projects that will be discussed include the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project; the Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project; the North-South Railway Project; the Parañaque Spillway Project; the Philippine Railway Institute; and the rehabilitation of Metro Rail Transit 3.

They will also provide updates on the Central Mindanao Highway Project, the Davao City Bypass and New Clark City.

The two countries launched these talks in March 2017 to keep track of the implementation of infrastructure projects in the Philippines funded by Japan.

The two sides met virtually in October last year.

Next week’s meeting will also discuss last year’s loan to support the Philippines’ pandemic response worth $468.39, as well as the ongoing vaccination program.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency has released 40 billion yen so far from its 50 billion yen standby facility for the Philippines’ post-pandemic recovery efforts.

The Japanese government also donated more than one million AstraZeneca doses earlier this month.

Its support for the ongoing peace processes in Mindanao through the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development framework will likewise be tackled in the meeting, as well as their efforts to help in the rehabilitation of Marawi City.

Japan was the country’s top source of official development assistance active grants and loans worth $8.537 billion as of March 2020. This accounted for 42.66% of the Philippines’ foreign aid. — Beatrice M. Laforga