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Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The Government of the Philippines, represented by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Ralph G. Recto, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), represented by JICA-Philippines Chief Representative Norio Matsuda, today signed agreements on three Japan-assisted grant projects amounting to over PhP2 billion.

The projects are: improvement of the meteorological radar system in the Philippines; project for the bridge construction for expanded agrarian reform communities; and the Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development (JDS).

"We appreciate the Japanese government's initiative to provide, among others, radar systems, dams and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure such as bridges in the country.  These equipment and infrastructure support are very much aligned with one of the Philippine government's priorities, that is, natural disaster prevention and mitigation," Recto said in his remarks.

The radar system project, with the PAGASA as proponent, amounts to more than PhP1.6 billion and is so far the biggest Japanese grant-assisted project provided to the country. It involves the replacement of three existing meteorological radar systems in Aparri, Cagayan; Virac, Catanduanes; and Guian, Samar. It aims to effectively prevent damages caused by tropical storms or typhoons by enhancing the capability of PAGASA in weather monitoring and weather information or warning dissemination. The diplomatic Exchange of Notes for this project was signed last March 30.

Meanwhile, the PhP302-million Bazal bridge construction project involves the construction and replacement of existing wooden bridge that crosses Bazal river along the boundary between two barangays in Maria Aurora, Aurora province. The grant agreement for the conduct of the detailed design study for this project was signed by Recto and Matsuda last April 20.

The JDS, another Japan grant-assisted project, amounts to about PhP149 million It aims to provide qualified Filipinos with the opportunity to obtain Master's degree at Japanese universities to support the human resource development policy of Japan, and eventually to extend and strengthen the bilateral relationship between Japan and the Philippines

The JDS project funds 20 scholarship slots for young Filipino government employees who are expected to play leadership roles in the Philippines and those who will contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country in the following fields of study: Economics, Business Administration, Public Administration, Information and Communications Technology, and Industrial Development.

About 84 scholars out of 159 grantees had graduated and came back to use their skills and knowledge gained in Japan while 50 grantees have ongoing studies in Japan and 25 more successful candidates were selected under the seventh batch for July 2009 intake. The Exchange of Notes for the eighth batch of JDS scholars was signed last May 19.

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