THE PHILIPPINES has signed a framework agreement with South Korea that could lead to official development assistance (ODA) loans of up to $3 billion, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

The Framework Arrangement Concerning Loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund will remain effective until 2026.

“This Framework Arrangement amounts to $3 billion, three times the amount of the previous arrangement,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo said during the signing, referring to the 2017-2022 framework arrangement that focused on sustainable rural development, health services, and water management and distribution projects.

“Today’s event formalizes the assistance of the Korean government to the Philippines in both breadth and magnitude,” he added.

South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Inchul said that the new agreement will add momentum to Philippine efforts to become an upper-middle-income country.

Korean involvement in Philippine infrastructure development, “including the construction of highways, railways, ports and airports, is an important aspect of bilateral relations between the two countries,” Mr. Kim added.

The DFA cited major loan projects in the pipeline which include the four-lane 32.47-kilometer Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project; the Ilocos Norte and Abra Irrigation Project which may generate 42.8 megawatts of electricity; and flood control projects under the Philippine-Korea Project Preparation Facility.

South Korea was the Philippines’ 6th largest ODA source last year, having funded phase 2 of the Jalaur River Multipurpose Dam Project worth P11.2 billion, the P9.2-billion construction of a cargo terminal at the Cebu International Port, and the construction of a two-lane bridge across Panguil Bay worth P7.4 billion. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan