THE Philippine and Japanese governments signed diplomatic notes to formalize cooperation on two key infrastructure projects, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. and Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda exchanged notes late Monday on the Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road project and the Davao City Bypass project.

“These yen loan projects to be financed by Japan seek to tackle connectivity and traffic congestion concerns confronting the rapidly developing metropolitan areas of Cebu and Davao,” the Embassy said in a statement.

The bridge and coastal road project in Cebu, estimated at 119 billion yen, includes the construction of a 3.3-kilometer (km) bridge and a 4.9-km four-lane coastal road.

The Davao City bypass, meanwhile, involves a 45.2-km road that will divert traffic from the Davao City center. Project cost is estimated at 35 billion yen.

The Embassy noted that both projects form part of the government’s infrastructure program and are well-placed to contribute to restarting the economy after the pandemic.

In addition, Mssrs. Locsin and Haneda also signed notes on agreements, granting 2 billion yen in aid to the Department of Health.

This will fund procurement of five CT scan machines, five X-ray machines, one MRI system and four infectious disease surveillance sites.

The two parties also agreed to a 337-million yen scholarship grant to 22 junior Filipino officials, as part of the Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS) for 2021.

“The project aims to enhance the JDS fellows’ expertise in their respective fields and to help build a pool of future Filipino leaders,” the Embassy said. A total of 361 officials have become JDS fellows since 2002. — Charmaine A. Tadalan