Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario signed and exchanged notes on September 27, 2011 in Tokyo , Japan for an Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan that will strengthen forestland management in the Philippines . The event was witnessed by His Excellency Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan and His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines . This recent ODA attests Japan 's continuing commitment to support the development efforts of the Philippine Government under the leadership of President Aquino.
The signing and exchanging of notes officially marked the appropriation of 9.244 billion yen (approximately 5.084 billion pesos) from the Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA) for the “Forestland Management Project (FMP).” With an interest rate of 0.3 % per annum and a repayment period of 40 years with a ten year grace period, this yen loan provides very concessional terms among various funding sources.
Japan has been the top ODA donor in the Philippines for many years and has assisted the country in achieving sustainable economic growth and creating employment opportunities through its ODA. This project reaffirms the Government of Japan's continued commitment extending cooperation in achieving sustainable growth in the Philippines and is consistent with the Philippine Development Plan's goal of conservation, protection and rehabilitation of the environmental resources, which will foster a strategic partnership between the two countries towards the future.
For many decades, Japan has been a long standing partner of the Philippines in the protection and rehabilitation of environment and natural resources through sustainable forest management. This new project aims to strengthen forestland management involving several components such as forest land use planning, capacity building while promoting community based forest management, community organizing, capacity building and construction of agroforestry support facilities. Utilizing the participatory approach, the activities for the project will include ecocological restoration of degraded forestland, enhancement of upland economic development, establishment of improved watershed management systems, among others and will benefit three critical river basins namely the Upper Magat and Cagayan, the Pampanga in Luzon and the Jalaur in the Visayas. It also endeavors to improve the socio-economic conditions and quality of life of upland dwellers through more productive rehabilitation and utilization of natural resources.
Particularly, this project will contribute to efforts related to climate change and prevention of disasters as well as aid in poverty reduction. Furthermore, the FMP is also a part of Japan 's support for developing countries on climate change up to 2012, which was announced by Japan in December 2009. Japan is continuously cooperating with the Philippines for the progress of international negotiations towards the establishment of a fair and effective framework and agreement on ambitious targets with participation of all major economies.
PHP-JPY Exchange Rate = .55 (2011 August average)