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US, Japan to fund Luzon corridor, O-RAN tech

US, Japan to fund Luzon corridor, O-RAN tech

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The governments and private sector of both the United States and Japan have committed to providing millions of dollars to fund Philippine projects in both infrastructure and technology, a US senior administration official has indicated.

At a background press call ahead of the bilateral meeting of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and US President Joe Biden, and the Trilateral Leaders' Summit, White House senior officials announced the PGI Luzon corridor, which will connect Subic Bay, Clark, Manila, and Batangas in efforts to boost coordinated investments in “high-impact” infrastructure projects.

This will include ports, rail, clean energy, semiconductors, supply chains, as well as other forms of connectivity in the Philippines.

“We will be holding events and setting up a steering committee to accelerate the work on this Luzon corridor, and the Development Finance Corporation will open its first regional office in the Philippines as part of this announcement,” the official said in a transcript provided by the White House.

The official said the governments and industry of the United States and Japan will provide billions of dollars for the funding of open radio access network (O-RAN) technology field trials in Manila.

This will also support an Asia O-RAN Academy in Manila, which seeks to ensure future commercial deployment moving forward.

“We’re working closely with the government of the Philippines to ensure that we can partner as a trilateral grouping to deliver secure, trusted ICT technology in the Philippines,” the official said.

Marcos arrived in Washington on Wednesday evening (Thursday morning, Philippine time), to attend the inaugural trilateral leaders summit with US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The three leaders are scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss and explore opportunities for enhancing trilateral cooperation across areas of mutual interest, after which they are expected to adopt and issue a Joint Vision Statement.

Before the trilateral meeting, Marcos is scheduled to have a bilateral meeting with Biden, where the two are expected to enhance efforts on economic and energy security and boost maritime cooperation, and infrastructure investments.

“President Biden will also reinforce the ironclad US alliance commitments to the Philippines. And the two leaders will also discuss their shared commitment to democratic values, including respect for human rights and internationally recognized labor rights,” a White House official said.

This is Marcos’s second visit to D.C. in two years, and his seventh meeting with either US President Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris, which the White House described as a sign of the “very close relationship” built with Marcos.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez on Wednesday said the Philippines is set to reap some $100 billion in investments from both the US and Japan in the next five years, as the three parties are looking to deepen their economic cooperation this week.

The latest data available from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the United States was the biggest recipient of Philippine exports in February with $947.83 million or 16.0% of the total, followed by Japan with $849.17 million or 14.4%.

In terms of imports, Japan was the second-biggest supplier of imported goods to the Philippines with $845.23 million or 8.8% of the total, behind China with $2.18 billion or 22.8%. Meanwhile, the United States came in sixth with $550.16 million. —NB, GMA Integrated News