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Luzon Economic Corridor committee holds first meeting, plans to convene quarterly

A COMMITTEE overseeing infrastructure investment and development along the Luzon Economic Corridor held its inaugural meeting on Tuesday, the first of what are planned to be quarterly sessions.

The US State Department said on Tuesday that the first Luzon Corridor Steering Committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Manila.

The meeting was chaired by US Senior Advisor to the President for Energy and Investment, Amos Hochstein, and Acting Special Coordinator for the Partnership for Global Infrastructure (PGI) and Investment, Helaina Matza. 

It was also co-chaired by Secretary Frederick D. Go, senior advisor to the President for Investment and Economic Affairs, and Ishizuki Hideo, Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry director general of the International Cooperation Bureau.

“The steering committee aims to implement the Trilateral Leaders’ commitment in April to develop the Luzon Economic Corridor under the PGI Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Investment Accelerator,” the State Department said, referring to the recent meeting of US, Japanese, and Philippine leaders.

“The partners discussed priority sectors for engagement and reviewed potential projects and areas of interest, committing to future meetings on a quarterly basis,” it added.

The Luzon Economic Corridor is the first PGI economic corridor in the Indo-Pacific region and is expected to support connectivity projects linking Subic Bay, Clark, Manila, and Batangas.

The economic corridor also aims to attract investments in rail, port modernization, agribusiness, clean energy, and semiconductor supply chains.

At the Indo-Pacific Business Forum, the US government also announced new support initiatives for the Indo-Pacific region, which includes a grant from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to Philippine company Responsible Internet Sustainability Effort, Inc. (RISE).

The grant funds a feasibility study that will help internet service providers in the Philippines advance the expansion of carrier-neutral internet exchange infrastructure.

“USTDA partners with companies like RISE to improve access to affordable and reliable internet connectivity for underserved communities in the Indo-Pacific. Planning the deployment of innovative technology is part of our strategy to promote inclusive economic growth,” according to Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s director.

“USTDA is pleased to launch this project at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum. It is just one demonstration of our unwavering commitment to promote trade, investment, and economic cooperation with the Philippines,” she added.

The USTDA also approved funding to support the modernization and buildout of electricity transmission and distribution networks in the Philippines.

To advance this initiative, the US government will bring a Philippine delegation of government and private sector utilities officials to observe innovations and best practices in smart grid technology. — Justine Irish D. Tabile