FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III called the Philippines’ loan and grant dealings with Japan an example for development partners, in particular the “fast and sure” approach introduced by a senior Japanese official.

In a statement, the Department of Finance (DoF) said on Tuesday that Mr. Dominguez, visiting Tokyo, credited Dr. Hiroto Izumi, former Special Advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister, for “initiating this ‘fast and sure’ strategy, which has led to the swift approval of concessional loans to the Philippines in support of 16 of the big-ticket infrastructure projects under ‘Build, Build, Build.’”

“The ‘fast and sure’ approach enabled Japan and the Philippines to process and complete loan approvals for most of these projects in a span of only three to six months,” the DoF said.

Mr. Dominguez has said that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the foreign aid financing arm of the Japanese government, remains the country’s largest source of official development assistance, with ¥1 trillion worth of financing for flagship infrastructure projects.

Recently, the Philippines obtained a P12.3-billion loan from JICA from the agency’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan facility.

Separately, DoF Chief Economist Gil S. Beltran was elected the Philippine Tax Academy’s (PTA) first president by the PTA’s board.

Mr. Beltran was formerly the undersecretary for the DoF’s Corporate Affairs Group and Privatization Office.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who also chairs the board, nominated Mr. Beltran, while retired DoF Assistant Secretary Maria Teresa S. Habitan was appointed PTA chancellor.

Under Republic Act 10143, which established the PTA, officials and personnel of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Customs, and the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) must undergo the re-tooling and enhancement seminars and training programs to be conducted by the PTA. “All applicants to the said bureaus shall also be required to pass the basic courses before they can be hired whether on contractual or permanent status,” according to the law.

Members of the PTA Board include BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay and Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, who are co-vice chairpersons; and BLGF Executive Director Niño Raymond B. Alvina. Two seats on the board remain vacant. — Tobias Jared Tomas