THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said it is inviting consultants to bid for the South Korea-backed feasibility study component of two road projects in Pampanga and Bukidnon.

The department published in a newspaper over the weekend a “request for expressions of interest” for consulting services for the feasibility study of Lubao-Guagua-Sasmuan-Minalin-Santo Tomas Bypass Road, funded by the Philippines-Korea Project Preparation Facility or PK-PPF.

The project will allow motorists from Bataan to bypass congested town centers through to the Santo Tomas section of MacArthur Highway.

The DPWH is requesting similar expressions of interest for consulting services for the feasibility study of the Mount Kitanglad Range Belt Road in Bukidnon.

The DPWH said the documents for both contract packages must be received by the Bids and Awards Committee Secretariat on or before 9 a.m. on March 7.

The Department of Finance (DoF) announced in 2020 that South Korea will provide the Philippines a $50-million loan to fund the feasibility studies and other project preparation activities “necessary to speed up the implementation of the Duterte administration’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure projects.”

The DoF and the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) signed the loan agreement worth to P2.73 billion for the PK-PPF.

“This project preparation facility will have a total cost of about $71 million, of which $50 million will be accessed through the loan extended by KEXIM through South Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF),” the DoF said.

The balance will consist of Philippine counterpart funding.

“Aside from being a zero-interest loan, KEXIM granted the Philippines a repayment period of 40 years, inclusive of a 10-year grace period,” the DoF noted. — Arjay L. Balinbin