MANILA - The Philippines and the United States signed an agreement for a technical assistance grant worth $683,053 for the proposed implementation of an intelligent transportation system in Metro Cebu, the Department of Finance said Friday.
Improving Cebu's transport system is part of President Rodrigo Duterte's Build, Build, Build program, which is currently ongoing despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said in a statement.
Under the deal, USTDA's technical aid which aims to examine the technical, financial, environmental and other critical aspect of the proposed implementation of an ITS in Metro Cebu, will identify improvements and equipment required to enhance the logistical backbone in the area, the DOF said.
The grant for the Metro Cebu project will complement the transportation department's Cebu Bus Rapid Transport project, which is being financed by the Agence Francaise de Développement (AFD) and the World Bank (WB), the DOF said.
Dominguez said the grant for this project “will help us transition rapidly into the new digital economy.”
“We can learn from the existing and emerging technologies developed by American experts to effectively deploy intelligent transportation systems in order to make our roads safer and less congested,” he added.
A signing ceremony was held with Philippine transport officials with Enoh Ebong, the acting Director of the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) on behalf of the US, the DOF said.
Efforts in development programs need to "redouble" to meet the growing demand in the Philippines and the ASEAN region, Ebong said.
The USTDA is establishing a presence in the US embassy in Manila later this year, the DOF said.
“The solutions to be assessed under this grant will not only relieve traffic congestion but also reduce vehicle emissions and energy consumption, underscoring USTDA’s commitment to supporting climate-smart transportation infrastructure,” Ebong said.
The technical assistance for the project is expected for implementation from April 2021 to December 2022.