Japan earmarks P5-B forestland loan
The Japanese government has earmarked the appropriation of an estimated Y9.244 billion, or approximately P5.084 billion, to strengthen forestland management in the Philippines.
The latest Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan was signed by Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario last Tuesday during the four-day official visit of President Benigno S. Aquino III to Japan.
The signing was witnessed by President Aquino and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
The Japanese Embassy in Manila said that with an interest rate of 0.3 percent per annum and a repayment period of 40 years with a 10-year grace period, this yen loan, made possible through Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA) provides concessional terms among various funding sources.
The new project aims to strengthen forestland management involving several components such as forest land use planning, capacity building while promoting community based forest management, community organizing, capacity building and construction of agro-forestry support facilities.
Utilizing the participatory approach, the embassy said the activities for the project will include, among others, ecological restoration of degraded forestland, enhancement of upland economic development, establishment of improved watershed management systems, to benefit three critical river basins — Upper Magat in Cagayan, Pampanga in Luzon and Jalaur in the Visayas.
It also endeavors to improve the socio-economic condition and quality of life of upland dwellers through more productive rehabilitation and utilization of natural resources, said the embassy.
“Japan is continuously cooperating with the Philippines for the progress of international negotiations towards the establishment of a fair and effective framework and agreement on ambitious targets with participation of all major economies,” said the Japanese Embassy in a statement.
Japan is the top ODA donor in the Philippines for many years now, assisting the country in achieving sustainable economic growth and creating employment opportunities.
“This project reaffirms the Government of Japan’s continued commitment to extend cooperation in achieving sustainable growth in the Philippines and is consistent with the Philippine Development Plan’s goal of conservation, protection and rehabilitation of environmental resources, which will foster a strategic partnership between the two countries now and in the future,” the embassy said.