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PHL to use $202-M ODA from Japan for roads in Mindanao conflict areas

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan —The government of Japan is set to lend the Philippines $202 million to develop a road network in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said Friday.

The Philippine government and JICA will sign an agreement covering the official development assistance within the first quarter of the year, JICA chief country representative Yoshio Wada told GMA News Online on the sidelines of a groundbreaking ceremony for the Philippine National Railways Tutuban-Malolos segment  in this city.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. signed and exchanged notes on February 10 in Davao City, to pave the way for the $202-million ODA.

“We are expecting the loan agreement to be concluded very soon...” Wada said. “We hope to start the project within this year.”

This project is estimated to be utilized by local residents in 2026.

The road network is envisioned to enhance transportation capacity and efficiency by building and improving access roads to arterial roads that connect to main cities in Mindanao.

The loan carries an interest rate of 1.05 percent and a 25-year repayment term that includes a seven-year grace period, according to the project’s brief. —VDS, GMA News