Philippines to soon implement
JICA projects on drug rehab, HARVEST
TOKYO, April 11 -- Philippine officials have assured their Japanese
counterparts that Malacañang is working fast to ensure the speedy
implementation of Japan-funded projects in support of the Duterte
administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and promotion of
agribusiness investments in Mindanao.
In a recent meeting here with top officials of the Japan International
Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Tokyo, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III
said the Philippine government expects to immediately begin construction of
drug rehabilitation centers through a JICA grant amounting to 1.85 billion
Another JICA-funded initiative—the Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities
through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship Supportive of Peaceful
Transformation (HARVEST) Project in Mindanao—is now on the final stages of
securing all the requirements necessary to formalize a memorandum of
agreement between the Department of Finance (DOJ) and the Land Bank of the
Philippines (LandBank), which will implement this project.
“We are grateful that Japan is also supporting our campaign against illegal
drugs by providing a JICA grant to the Department of Health for the
treatment and rehabilitation of illegal drug users,” Dominguez said in the
meeting with JICA officials.
The JICA side was led by its president Shinichi Kitaoka and senior vice
president Shinya Ejima.
“We hope to immediately implement the 1.850 billion yen grant to construct
drug rehabilitation centers,” Dominguez added.
Dominguez said the grant, equivalent to US$16 million, “is the first of its
kind from Japan to the Philippines that is of a budgetary support in
The 1.85 billion yen grant forms part of the 3.8 billion yen (US$33 million)
JICA grant to support the Duterte administration’s programs to win the war
against illegal drugs, improve public security and its counterterrorism
efforts, and forge lasting peace and development in Mindanao.
On the Mindanao-HARVEST Project, Dominguez told JICA that “we are now
finalizing the LBP-DOF memorandum of agreement and we expect to secure all
requirements for the MOA to take effect by middle of next month.”
Dominguez, on behalf of the Philippine government, thanked Japan for its
financial assistance to these programs.
The LandBank and the Japanese government signed a loan agreement worth
almost 5 billion yen to fund the five-year HARVEST project in the Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and other conflict-affected areas in the
southern Philippines during the official visit of Japan Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe to the Philippines last January.
The 4.93 billion yen loan deal for the HARVEST project was signed by
LandBank president and CEO Alex Buenaventura and JICA chief representative
to the Philippines Susumu Ito.
This JICA loan will mature in 25 years, inclusive of a seven-year grace
period with an interest rate of 1.4 percent.
On top of the proposed loan, JICA intends to provide a technical grant of
about $6 million (about P290 million) to support the capacity building of
eligible beneficiaries of HARVEST and LandBank’s management of the project.
HARVEST, which will be implemented by the LandBank from 2017 to 2022, aims
to open a lending window for agribusiness ventures and other related
investments in ARMM and other conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.
Loans funded under the HARVEST project will be made available to large
agribusiness enterprises; farmers’ organizations or cooperatives; micro,
small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); and “corporatives” or
corporation-managed farms supported by the LandBank in ARMM and other
Projects that are sourcing products or goods from the ARMM and other covered
areas as part of a value chain are also qualified to borrow under the