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US eyes $3-billion package for PH transport systems upgrade

US eyes $3-billion package for PH transport systems upgrade

By Daphne Galvez

WASHINGTON D.C., United States — The US seeks to boost its infrastructure development aid to the Philippines by leveraging over $3 billion in public and private financing to support the construction of quality transport systems in the country.

According to a fact sheet released by the White House, this was among the topics discussed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and US President Joe Biden in their bilateral meeting here on May 1.

The fact sheet said the US Agency for International Development (USAID) “is launching a new partnership to scale up infrastructure development in the Philippines and support the construction of high-quality railways, ports, and transport systems.”

“Additionally, over the course of 2023, USTDA (U.S. Trade and Development Agency) will launch new sustainable infrastructure activities intended to leverage over $3 billion in public and private financing,” the fact sheet read.

It added that the move seeks to strengthen the Philippines’ critical mineral supply chains, advance smart grid technologies and clean energy solutions, promote secure 5G deployment, strengthen airport security and maritime safety, and support healthcare infrastructure across the Philippines.

Both leaders also expressed their intention to expand air connectivity and modernize their nations’ bilateral aviation relationship.

“The United States and the Philippines intend to expand air connectivity and modernize our bilateral aviation relationship, which will strengthen our economic and people-to-people ties,” the fact sheet read.

US and Philippine aeronautical authorities are set to formalize a technical aviation dialogue at the upcoming APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Transportation Ministerial Meeting in Detroit to enhance policy and regulatory alignment, with a view toward modernizing the US-Philippines air transportation agreement.

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Marcos and Biden also expressed their commitment to strengthening bilateral cooperation on space situational awareness and the use of space for maritime domain awareness, including through the first-ever US-Philippines Civil Space Dialogue.

According to the fact sheet, both countries will collaborate on the use of space-based technology in the areas of disaster management and emergency response, healthcare, mapping of resources and accessibility, pollution monitoring, deforestation, land use and infrastructure planning, and maritime awareness.

It added that the two heads of state welcome the strengthening of bilateral cooperation on the Landsat Program, including the possibility for the Philippines to download imagery directly from Landsat satellites to its ground stations.