His Excellency ALBERTO G. ROMULO,
Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Honorable SECRETARY GENERAL RICARDO SALUDO,
Special National Public Reconstruction Commission
Honorable UNDERSECRETARY MANUEL BONOAN,
Department of Public Works and Highways
Friends, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a great honor for me to sign and exchange Notes today, together with His Excellency, Mr. Alberto Romulo, for the Post Ondoy and Pepeng Short-Term Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project.
This ODA loan is one of Japan's many direct responses to the Philippines' call for help after Tropical Storm Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng that had hit the country last September and October 2009, causing severe damages, including 10 million victims and over 900 deceased. The project will carry out repairs and reinforcement of damaged overpass bridges as well as flood control facilities that were destroyed or eroded, particularly in Luzon, Mindoro and Palawan Islands.
As the adverse effects of climate change become increasingly felt around the world, Japan is prepared to enhance our financial and technical assistance to support efforts of vulnerable developing countries, like the Philippines, and other small island countries in establishing counter-measures against intensifying natural disasters, under the “Hatoyama Initiative”. By extending this ODA loan we signed today, totaling over 9.9 billion yen (approximately 5 billion pesos), the Government of Japan firmly associates itself with the Government and people of the Philippines in pursuing their development objectives.
We hope that this project will assist the victims of these calamities, and support and strengthen the disaster mitigation efforts of the Philippine Government. As a close friend and neighbor, Japan will continue to support typhoon victims to reconstruct and improve the living environment in the Philippines.
Ladies and gentlemen, before closing my remarks, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you our preliminary figures of Japan's ODA commitments to the Philippines in FY 2009, which ended last March.
I am pleased to inform you that total grant aid was around 5.5 billion yen (approximately 2.8 billion pesos), a large increase compared to the amount for the previous fiscal year, 3 billion yen (approximately 1.5 billion pesos).
The yen loan committed in FY 2009 was around 68 billion yen (approximately 34 billion pesos), also a large increase compared to the amount for the previous fiscal year, around 34 billion yen (approximately 17 billion pesos).
In closing, I would like to express my sincere hope that this project as well as other ODA projects will further strengthen the cooperative ties and the strategic partnership that Japan and the Philippines have built through the years.
Thank you very much for your attention.