By Chino S. Leyco
Top Philippine and Japanese officials agreed to further streamline respective approval processes and introduce new measures to put in the fast lane the implementation of big-ticket infrastructure projects presented by Manila to Tokyo for possible financing.
Aside from infrastructure cooperation, the Department of Finance (DOF) said the two nations also exchanged views on the support for Mindanao and other areas of cooperation such as in power and energy, anti-illegal drug measures, public safety and counterterrorism.
The two parties also discussed possible cooperation on information and communications technology, the Finance department said.
“Both sides reaffirmed to continue discussions on a mid-and long-term action plan on anti-illegal drug measures and on a document indicating the future direction of the Philippines-Japan cooperation for the next five years,” the DOF said.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III reported during their meeting that “significant milestones” have been reached in the processing of the jointly agreed project list between the two countries.
“Now that our plans have progressed, we intend to lay out specific plans on how to expedite the processing and implementation of the flagship projects,” Dominguez said in his opening remarks during the meeting.
In their discussion, both panels agreed to speed up their respective project approval processes and come up with additional measures for more efficient decision making, and swift execution, noting they already introduced improvements in their key processes in the past.
The Japanese side expressed openness to explore and discuss government to government measures, the DOF added.
“Our regular rounds of high-level meetings have brought about significant changes in the way we do things. Needless to say, we hope to continue pushing for improvements in order to accomplish more in less time,” Dominguez said.