THE Philippines and South Korea may sign their first multiyear financing arrangement at the sidelines of the Asean meeting happening in Manila this month, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
In an interview with the BusinessMirror, Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan said the multiyear financing arrangement will cover the entire duration of the President’s term, or until 2022.
Tungpalan said Seoul is keen on financing agriculture-related projects, as well as some flagship infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration.
“It’s a work in progress. We’re looking at big-ticket projects. But we are still discussing the list as of the moment,” Tungpalan said.
“South Korea wants to help in the areas of agriculture, rural development, ICT [information and communications technology], and they also want to come in infrastructure where they would want to be ‘in the league’ of [major partners],” he added.
Tungpalan said the initial list of projects to be financed by the Korean government in the next five years include two flagship projects, specifically the P9.2 billion worth New Cebu International Container Port and the P4.86-billion Panguil Bay Bridge Project.
The Neda executive said the list could include Korean-funded projects, such as the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project, Stage II, which is the biggest Korean-funded project in the country.
The Jalaur project was part of the $335.78 million extended to the Philippines by Seoul between 2011 and 2013.
Apart from financing certain projects, the government of South Korea also made available a $500-million credit line to the Philippines under the Economic Development Cooperation Fund between 2014 and 2017.
However, it is only under this administration when the two governments agreed to craft a six-year framework which will allow the Philippines to tap $100 million in concessional loans.
In June, the Neda said in a statement that the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim) met
with select agencies of the Philippine government to discuss possible projects that may form part of the Kexim pipeline in the medium term.
Aside from concessional loans, the Kexim is also offering its support through its knowledge- sharing program facility, a knowledge-driven economic-cooperation program that will enable Korea to share its successes and failures and propose applicable policy recommendations.
Kexim also expressed willingness to assist in the Philippines’s pre-investment activities, including project preparation, and feasibility studies and plans formulation, through the Bank’s project preparation facility.