Korea seeks infra funding expansion under BBM

The South Korean government has expressed interest in the funding expansion in the infrastructure and development in the Philippines under the Marcos administration.

Public Works Secretary Manuel Bonoan said representatives of the Korean government’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), led by deputy director Yunhak Lee and Program Officer Ana Labella, expressed interest in supporting the administration’s “Build, Better More” projects in a meeting held on 12 August.

The officials said the funding would be coursed through the Korea Eximbank (KEXIM), the implementing agency of the EDCF’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) program in the Philippines.

However, Bonoan did not identify the projects the Korean officials were looking to fund and the amount of investments.

According to Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, who is in charge of ODA-funded projects, three EDCF projects are currently developing. These include the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project in Northern Samar, the Panguil Bay Bridge Project in Northern Mindanao, and Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Measures in the Low-Lying Areas of Pampanga in Central Luzon.

Early this year, the government also secured a loan from South Korea to cover funds for the engineering services for the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project, an interisland bridges project. It will entail the construction of two sea-crossing, four-lane bridges totaling 32.47 kilometers.

The project includes connecting roads and interchanges to provide mobility connections in Panay, Guimaras, and Negros islands in Western Visayas.

The EDCF also provided a grant for the recently completed feasibility study of the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project Phase II, which aims to construct two bridges — Laoang II Bridge (360-meter) and Calomotan Bridge (630-meter). Likewise, the undertaking will upgrade about 12.5-kilometer existing road from Laoang-Palapag Road Junction to Catarman-Laoang Road Junction that will connect the island of Laoag to mainland Northern Samar.

Department of Public Works and Highways is looking forward to the approval submitted final feasibility study report to the National Economic and Development Authority Board and the subsequent endorsement of the project to KEXIM for funding of the detailed engineering design and civil works for its construction.

Other Korea-funded ODA feasibility studies discussed during the meeting include Philippines-Korea Project Preparation Facility for Lubao-Guagua-Sasmuan-Minalin-Santo Tomas Bypass Road (30 km), Mount Kitanglad Range Belt Road (108 km), Capas-Botolan Road (38.4km), and Lubao-Guagua-Sasmuan-Minalin-Santo Tomas Bypass Rd., Section 4: Minalin (Bulac)-Sasmuan Viaduct (7 km); Maasin City Coastal Bypass Road; Iconic Bohol-Leyte Bridge Project; and Integrated Flood Management Master Plan of Lower Pampanga River Basin covering Pampanga Delta Development Project, Phase II and Central Luzon-Pampanga River Floodway Flood Control Project.

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