By Chino S. Leyco
The Philippine government has signed a supplemental loan agreement with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to help fund the second phase of the New Bohol Airport project.
The Department of Finance (DOF) and JICA sealed a 4.376-billion yen loan, or roughly P2 billion, for the expansion of the New Bohol Airport’s runway and passenger terminal building.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and JICA Chief Representative Yoshio Wada signed the supplemental loan agreement at the DOF headquarters yesterday.
Dominguez and Wada also formally exchanged documents for Phase II of the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environmental Protection Project in Panglao Island.
Witnessing the signing of the supplemental loan accord were Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Minister Makoto Iyori, economic affairs minister in the Embassy of Japan.
Dominguez noted that the government acted swiftly in processing the necessary requirements for the supplemental loan, which “took only a short period of four months to be formalized.”
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved the supplemental loan last June 19.
Dominguez said that “under government conditions, this is amazing speed. I look forward to this becoming the benchmark of efficiency for the other projects in the pipeline” under President Duterte’s centerpiece program “Build, Build, Build.”
He said that if the government acts “with the same dispatch on all public projects, I am confident we will sustain the pace of growth we need to bring the benefits of inclusive growth to our people.”
Dominguez thanked Japan for once again helping fund the second phase of the New Bohol Airport Project, which is also known as the Bohol Panglao International Airport.
The Finance chief said this project is “a perfect example” of a hybrid Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project in which the government takes over the initial phase of the project and later bids out its operations and maintenance aspect to the private sector.
“If some future government or some future administration needs money, they can actually sell that asset. So while we can get good financing, we are building up our asset base. That’s like the savings of the people which can be tapped if some future administration needs it,” he said.
Through JICA, Japan also provided funding support in the amount of 10.782 billion yen (approximately P5.18 billion or $237 million) for the first phase of the New Bohol Airport, which began construction in 2015 and is dubbed the country’s first international “eco-airport.”
“This project will have a substantial impact on the economic performance of Central Philippines,” Dominguez said.
Wada said the airport project will “accelerate the economic growth of Bohol and contribute to its transformation as another key economic center in the region.”