japan1March 23, 2013 – Mayor Ronald Allan G. Cesante played host to three top Japanese private-public partnership (PPP) executives from Toyo University and Saitama Prefecture who visited to explore possibilities with the municipality in various socio-economic concerns for the end purpose of facilitating partnership with Japanese and other foreign investors in financing  the construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure and development projects normally undertaken by the municipality. The visit was made possible by Mr. Paul Llido, the municipality consultant on research and development projects. 

 Heading the Japanese experts was Professor Sam Tabuchi, PPP Graduate School, Department of Economics professor at Toyo University. Prof. Tabuchi is also the Japan Director of Enterprise Florida, Inc., the State of Florida economic development agency. With him also was Mr. Satoshi Kato, general manager of the Risk Management Division and Business Promotion Group of Chodai Co.,Ltd. Mr. Kato oversees the construction of two (2) multi-million-peso run-to-river hydropower plants in Butuan City. Completing the group is Mr. Tsuyoshi Mikami, representative of the governor of Saitama for international relations who has been working on projects under public-private partnership with Saitama Prefecture. The group came with Dr. Virgilio Abellana, the USJR Dean of the College of Engineering, and Engr. Reynaldo Ruedas, ECE faculty of the same university. University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) is a partner learning institution of Toyo University.

 During the meeting Prof. Tabuchi was interested in Dalaguete’s rapid climb from 5th to 1st class municipality in a short span of 10 years. According to Mayor Cesante this success has been an interplay of increased local income, public investment and internal revenue allocation (IRA). However, this astounding feat which was brought also by proactive and transparent governance also increased expenditures in basic services and maintenance. When asked by the professor on how’s the finances of the municipality, the mayor gamely replied a projected PhP 10M surplus from PhP 130M income from local revenues and subsidies this year less PhP 120M expenditures. When queried by Mr. Mikami on what are the municipality’s points of interest for strategic studies, the mayor enumerated sustainable energy source, potable water and increased vegetable production to name some.   

 Acording to Prof. Tabuchi, the Asia Public-Private Partnership Institute (APPPI) of Toyo University conducts education and research activities on PPP and supports municipalities to participate in projects in Asian countries, in order to solve problems such as lack of public funds which is a bottleneck of infrastructure and economic development. In September 2011, the APPPI conducted a survey on the feasibility of economic development using PPP in Butuan City. The research results have caused multi-million-peso investment in some projects in Butuan by Japanese companies.

 The meeting was capped by a tour in the mountain barangays highlighted by a visit in Mantalongon Trading Post to the delight of Prof. Tabuchi and company, together with Dr. Abellana and Engr. Ruedas upon seeing the busy farmers moving in baskets of fresh vegetables. The group also went to Brgy. Tabon and inquired on the water supply and means of livelihood of the people. Last stop was the vegetable tramline in Brgy. Obo which also provided a better panorama of the Paling-Paling road widening project and also of the proposed site for the Dalaguete hydropower plant.

 Mayor Cesante praised Prof. Tabuchi and his company for their visit and hoped for Dalaguete to be the first municipality in the Philippines to enter into PPP with Japanese companies through research results conducted by APPPI of Toyo University. According to Prof. Tabuchi with the passionate team the municipality has through the leadership of Mayor Cesante, future collaboration with Toyo University may at all be possible.

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