The South Korean government has increased its official development assistance (ODA) fund allocation to the Philippines.
The Philippines and the Republic of Korea formally inked an agreement on Wednesday that now allows Manila to tap up to US$3 billion of its loanable ODA funds from Seoul.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Korean Ambassador to Manila, Kim In Chul signed the accord titled “Framework Agreement Concerning Loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDFC)” in rites held at the DFA office in Pasay City.
Under the signed accord, Manila could access ODA loans until 2026 to fund its infrastructure and green projects.
“We thank the Republic of Korea for its swift and steady support to Philippine development efforts. Korea’s maximum commitment amounts to USD3 billion, which is three times the amount of the previous arrangement. This will pave the way for more development cooperation projects in infrastructure and climate and green-related areas,” Manalo said.
The DFA Secretary acknowledged the “firm foundation of trust and friendship” between the people of the Philippines and South Korea who share fond memories of their solidarity cemented during the Korean War in the early 1950s.
Manalo said the amount indicates that the Korean government’s thrust aligns with the Philippines’ socio-economic priorities. One of the major projects to be funded from the Korean ODA is 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.
For funding too are the 13.32-kilometer road project traversing the coastal areas of Mandaue, Consolacion and Liloan in Cebu, the Ilocos Norte and Abra Irrigation project for a 126.41-meter high storage dam, a power plant to generate 42.8 MW of electricity and other components for watershed management.
DFA said there are other flood control projects under the Philippine-Korea Project Preparation Facility. “South Korea’s participation in Philippine infrastructure development, including the construction of highways, railways, ports and airports,” it added.
South Korea is the Philippines’ sixth largest ODA source in 2021 which funded several development projects including Phase 2 of the Jalaur River Multipurpose Dam Project worth P11.2 billion that now irrigates some 31,000 hectares of land, mitigates flooding in downstream communities and connects bulk-water supply in Iloilo.
Likewise funded are the P9.2-billion construction of a port with cargo handling capacity on a reclaimed land to address port congestion in the Cebu International Port; and the construction of a two-lane bridge across the Panguil Bay that connects Lanao del Norte and Misamis Occidental worth P7.4 billion.