At a press conference, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Philippines’ ODA partners follow “tedious” processes before help can reach the country.
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Dominguez: ODA-financed infra projects 'moving ahead'
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (philstar.com) - July 4, 2018 - 6:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government on Wednesday maintained it is “moving ahead” with the implementation of projects funded through official development assistance.

That was after the country’s chief socioeconomic planner said some ODA-financed projects “are not moving as fast as we had expected” due to “bureaucracy” in donor countries.

At a press conference, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Philippines’ ODA partners follow “tedious” processes before help can reach the recipient country.

“When we speak of government projects, these are not our money. This is public money and the public, through legislation, has required any government in the world to follow certain procedures,” Dominguez said.

“And those procedures can be tedious and can be long but they are required by the citizens of that country because it is their money. So we just have to live with that,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to upgrade the country’s dilapidated and aging infrastructure through his administration’s P9 trillion “Build, Build, Build” program.

Duterte has courted regional rivals China and Japan to help foot the bill for the construction boom. Meanwhile, South Korea has offered $1 billion in ODA to the Philippines during Duterte’s trip to Seoul last month.

ODA loans are cheaper sources of financing as they carry lower interest rates than lending rates imposed by commercial banks. ODAs also have longer grace and repayment periods.

To avoid delays and higher project costs, the Duterte administration has shifted from public-private partnership as the primary mode of financing and has relied more on public funding and ODA. 

At the same news conference, Dominguez admitted there were delays in projects funded by Chinese ODA after the Chinese government underwent a “reorganization” early this year.

He also assured the public that Philippine officials meet with their Chinese and Japanese counterparts “once every three or four months” to speed up the implementation of ODA-backed projects.

“I hope people will understand. I’m not making any excuses. We’re just trying to go as fast as we can... Our method of using government financing is working,” the finance chief said.

Data from the Department of Finance show 10 of the 75 flagship infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration are set to begin implementation in the latter half of this year.

BUILD BUILD BUILD OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE
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