Philippines, South Korea sign $3 billion ODA loan package

Pia Lee Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and South Korea have signed a Korean Development Assistance loan package worth $3 billion.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Korean Ambassador Kim In-chul signed on Wednesday the Framework Arrangement between the two countries concerning loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund for the years 2022 through 2026.

This enables the Philippine government to obtain official development assistance (ODA) loans from the Korean government up to a maximum commitment of $3 billion until 2026.

Manalo acknowledged the swift and steady support of South Korea in Philippine development efforts.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the purpose and amount of loan assistance highlight the alignment of the thrust of the Korean government with Philippine socio-economic priorities.

The signing of the Framework Arrangement paves the way for the implementation of more development cooperation projects. The amount is three times that of the previous 2017-2022 term arrangement.

Major loan projects in the pipeline include the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project that would construct a four-lane, 32.47-kilometer, two-sea-crossing bridges, connecting the islands of Panay, Guimaras and Negros; a project that would construct a four-lane, 13.32-kilometer road traversing the coastal areas of Mandaue, Consolacion and Liloan; the Ilocos Norte and Abra Irrigation Project that would construct a 126.41-meter high storage dam, a power plant to generate 42.8 MW of electricity, and other components for watershed management; and other flood control projects under the Philippine-Korea Project Preparation Facility.

South Korea was the Philippines’ 6th largest ODA source in 2021, having funded projects such as Phase 2 of the Jalaur River Multipurpose Dam Project worth P11.2 billion which irrigates more than 31,000 hectares of land, mitigates flooding in the downstream communities, and connects bulk-water supply in Iloilo; the P9.2-billion construction of a port with cargo handling capacity on reclaimed land to address port congestion in the Cebu International Port, and construction of a P7.4-billion two-lane bridge across Panguil Bay, connecting Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte.

The DFA said South Korea’s participation in Philippine infrastructure development, including the construction of highways, railways, ports and airports, is an important aspect of bilateral relations between the two countries.

South Korea and the Philippines have both committed to elevate bilateral relations, to include increased high-level engagements, closer maritime cooperation, increased collaboration in addressing common security challenges, expanded cooperation in trade and investments and in science and technology, and even closer people-to-people exchanges through tourism, education exchanges and labor cooperation.

Nuclear energy with Japan

The Philippines discussed nuclear energy and possible areas of cooperation on energy with Japan.

A delegation from the Philippines composed of the Department of Energy, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) and National Power Corp. met with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on Dec. 15 to exchange views on nuclear energy.

Leading the Philippine delegation, Energy Undersecretary Sharon Garin shared her insights on the visit, and discussed possible areas of cooperation on energy with Japan.

PNRI Director Carlo Arcilla presented the status of nuclear power production in the Philippines. Deputy Commissioner Izuru Kobayashi of METI explained the current situation on the utilization of nuclear energy in Japan.

The visit was arranged by the JAIF International Cooperation Center, a private organization founded by Japan Atomic Industrial Forum Inc.

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