KEY INFRASTRUCTURE projects are expected to be given a boost by Japan’s financial assistance pledged in the course of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s ongoing visit there.

One such project is the Arterial Road Bypass Project in Bulacan province, which is expected to improve transportation capacity and efficiency in the vicinity of the town of Plaridel.

This project forms part of the ¥1 trillion (about $9 billion) pledged by the Japanese government for the Philippines early this year.

The 24.61-kilometer (km) Plaridel Bypass Project will link the North Luzon Expressway in Balagtas, Bulacan, with the Philippine Japan Friendship Highway or Maharlika Highway in San Rafael, Bulacan. The project will have 11 bridges traversing the Bulacan municipalities of Balagtas, Guiguinto, Plaridel, Bustos, and San Rafael.

Mr. Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday, Oct. 30, also witnessed the exchange of note between Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano and Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono on a loan provision of up to ¥15.9 billion (around $141 million) for the Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement following Mr. Abe’s meeting with Mr. Duterte also affirmed Japanese assistance in the Metro Manila Subway Project.

Also on Monday, the Philippine delegation, including representatives of the private sector signed at least 18 letters of intent (LOIs) amounting to some $6 billion with 20 Japanese companies representing a diversity of industries — with the Department of Trade and Industry signing LOIs with Marubeni Corp., Itochu Corp., Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd., Taiheiyo Cement Corp., Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd, Ministop Co., Ltd., and Lawson, Inc.

Tsuneishi and Ichijo have expressed interest to invest about P25 billion early this year.

Also signing LOIs with partner Japanese companies on Monday were Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, with Japan Tobacco, Inc.; Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, with Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.; Bases Conversion and Development Authority President and CEO Vivencio B. Dizon, with Hitachi Asia; and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Administrator and CEO Wilma T. Eisma, with List Co., Ltd.

Private companies in the Philippine delegation had also inked agreements with their Japanese counterparts. — Rosemarie A. Zamora and Anna Gabriela A. Mogato