MANILA -- The Korean Embassy in Manila said over the weekend the Korean government is funding most of the USD199-million New Cebu International Container Port Project through an official development assistance (ODA) recently clinched with the Philippine government.
The Philippine and South Korean governments signed on Friday a USD1-billion Framework Arrangement Concerning Loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) to finance Philippine infrastructure projects.
The Korean Embassy said the proposed container port in Cebu is the first project to be funded under the framework arrangement through a USD173-million loan from the EDCF.
The project aims to decongest the existing Cebu International Port by constructing a new container port in Consolacion, Cebu.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Framework Arrangement effectively doubles Korea's previous 2011 commitment of USD500 million, and extended the time to avail of it from three years (2011-2013) to five years (2017-2022).
South Korean Ambassador to Manila Han Dong-man and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano signed the document on behalf of Korea and the Philippines at the DFA-Pasay building.
Han said the signing marks an "important milestone" for deepening the two nations' bilateral ODA and infrastructure cooperation.
Cayetano hailed South Korea’s "heightened engagement" in the Philippines’ development as evident in the newly signed Framework Arrangement.
"We note and highly appreciate the confidence that the government of the Republic of Korea has shown by doubling the previous amount and duration of access from the previous Framework Arrangement, which was signed in November 2011,” the official said.
Recent major projects funded by the EDCF are the Panguil Bay Bridge connecting Tangub City and the municipality of Tubod, and the Puerto Princesa Airport Development Project that improved the existing airport in the city through the construction of a new passenger terminal complex.
Also included was the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project, creating an inter-provincial link that completed the circumferential road loop of Samar Island.
The EDCF was established by the Korean government in June 1987 under the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and is being administered by the Export-Import Bank of Korea. Through the EDCF, bilateral loans were offered to the Philippines as early as 1988.
According to the Korean Embassy, the Philippines stands as the third largest EDCF partner of South Korea.
South Korea, on the other hand, is the sixth largest source of ODA among bilateral and multilateral partners of the Philippines, with USD570.60 million of active ODA, broken down into USD470.74 million and USD89.86 million for loans and grants, respectively. (PNA)