Japan, Philippines signs 885 million yen grant to boost Philippine pandemic recovery measures with cold chain systems



On January 28, 2022, Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko attended the virtual signing of an agreement between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Health for a grant assistance of 885 million yen, as part of the Government of Japan's support to the country's COVID-19 recovery efforts. Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and JICA Philippines Representative Azukizawa Eigo also attended the ceremony as the signatories to the Agreement.

The almost-400 million pesos grant aid will provide cold chain transport and equipment throughout the Philippines. The grant aid comprises more than 70 refrigerated and service truck units, 1,000 transport boxes for vaccines, ice pack freezers, thermometers, and other equipment to be deployed nationwide in partnership with the Department of Health.

Ambassador Koshikawa stressed in his speech that this assistance indicated another signpost in Japan's commitment to the Philippines' ongoing battle against COVID-19. Despite the downtrend in cases in Metro Manila and nearby areas, various parts of the country continue to experience surges, primarily due to the Delta and Omicron variants. Therefore, the cold chain systems for vaccines are incredibly significant for guaranteeing vaccines' safe and efficient delivery to strategic areas across the country while retaining their efficacy. The recent rise of COVID-19 cases in various regions nationwide has made vaccines more urgent and imperative to reach all these areas. Given this, he underscored that Japan's grant assistance would play a crucial role in delivering life-saving vaccines, significantly contributing to our joint battle against the pandemic.

Furthermore, Ambassador Koshikawa assured that the Philippines is not alone in its fight against COVID-19, citing the Government of Japan’s firm resolve to collaborate with the country in this endeavor. He also expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the entire health workforce, noting that this challenging yet phenomenal time only motivates both countries to aspire for a much stronger bilateral cooperation. “The fight against the pandemic continues until it is subdued. No country can surpass this public health challenge alone, but with Japan by your side to face it together, we will all emerge stronger and better,” he concluded.

Japan has continuously provided comprehensive support to the Philippines since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This support includes over 3 million vaccine donations, grant aid for the procurement of medical equipment and establishment of laboratory surveillance sites, technical assistance for cold chain development, provision of Avigan tablets for COVID-19 treatment, as well as big-ticket yen loan assistance through the COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan (CCRESL) and the Post-Disaster Standby Loan Phase 2 (PDSL 2).