His Excellency ALBERTO G. ROMULO, Secretary of Foreign Affairs,
Honorable Governor BELLAFLOR ANGARA-CASTILLO,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
It is a great honor for me to sign and exchange Notes today, together with His Excellency Alberto Romulo, for two (2) ODA loans and three (3) Grant Aid projects.
As I look back, when I signed the Exchange of Notes with His Excellency for the last phase of Development Policy Support Program on March 30 th last year, the global economic crisis was on a rise. Since then, the enduring policy efforts of the Philippine Government have sustained the economy from falling down to a negative growth, marking the GDP growth rate of 1.8% in the fourth quarter of 2009. However, to put the economy back to a full growth path, your government considers it still essential to continue with the ongoing policy reform initiatives, as well as to allocate adequate financial resources to the areas of crucial policy needs. The two loans which we signed today, the Development Policy Support Program 3 (DPSP3) and the Emergency Budget Support Japanese ODA Loan, precisely aim to achieve such objectives.
Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In addition to addressing the issues of the overall macroeconomic and policy reforms, Japan is firmly determined to support the Philippines' efforts to adapt to climate change. Japan is prepared to provide more financial and technical assistance than in the past, in accordance with the progress of the international negotiations, to support efforts by vulnerable developing countries and small island countries, under the “Hatoyama Initiative.” Japan considers that financial assistance and technology transfer to developing countries are critically important in solving the problem of climate change. Before explaining on the two (2) projects under the “Hatoyama Initiative,” I would like to reiterate Japan's sincere wish to continue our cooperation towards the formation of a legal document to establish a fair and effective international framework in which all major countries participate.
The Project for the Programme for the Improvement of Capabilities to cope with Natural Disasters Caused by Climate Change aims to assist the Philippines' efforts in mitigation and adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change. It is said that the consequences of climate change have contributed to recent abnormal weather including tropical storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng, which caused severe flooding in the Philippines last year. In this project, through the scheme of non-project grant aid, Japan provides the flood forecasting and warning systems and other disaster prevention equipment for relevant agencies including the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to enhance the disaster management capability of the Philippine Government.
The other one of the two projects under the “Hatoyama Initiative” is the Project for the Introduction of Clean Energy by Solar Electricity Generation, which also aims to support the Philippine Government to tackle the issue of climate change. It is widely acknowledged that we need to increase the ratio of clean energy in our energy portfolio to reduce the use of fossil fuels that is considered as the main cause of today's global warming. In this project, Japan provides solar electricity generation systems for the compound of Department of Energy and Philippine National Oil Company. We hope that this project will be a good showcase of Japan-Philippine cooperation in the field of clean energy.
Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,
Japan is also firmly determined to assist the people in need for basic social services including health and medical care.
The last one of the Grant Aid projects which we signed today is the Project for Upgrading of Aurora Memorial Hospital which assists upgrading of the Aurora Memorial Hospital in Aurora Province. This project is going to reconstruct the Aurora Memorial Hospital to increase the number of beds from twenty-five (25) to fifty (50) and to strengthen its function as an important hospital in the region.
By extending our two ODA loans and three grants which we signed today, totaling over 26 billion yen (approximately 13.5 billion pesos), the Government of Japan firmly associates itself with the Government and the people of the Philippines in pursuing their development objectives.
In closing, I would like to express my sincere hope that these projects will further strengthen the cooperative ties and the strategic partnership between our two countries.
Thank you very much for your attention.