PH gets $1-B aid from SK

By Genalyn Kabiling

SEOUL — The Philippine government has vowed a “corruption-free” use of the $1 billion official development assistance from South Korea, the bulk of which could fund three projects under the government’s infrastructure program.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said they intend to maximixe the increased financial aid from South Korea and closely monitor and audit the implementation of covered projects.

Under the $1 billion ODA from Korea, Dominguez said they would tap $172.64 million for new Cebu international container port, $100-million for the new Dumaguete airport development project, and $41 million for the implementation of electronic receipt, invoices and sales reporting system.

The remaining $636 million might be allocated to two or three of flagship infrastructure projects identified in the “Build, Build, Build” program, according to Dominguez.

“I assured (Finance) Deputy Prime Minister Kim (Dong-yeon) our strict monitoring of these projects to make sure that none of the Korean taxpayers’ money is wasted in corruption and that all the ODA-supported projects will bring lasting benefits to the Filipino people,” Dominguez said during a press conference here.

“It’s our duty to make sure that those funds are totally corruption-free when they are used. We are monitoring these projects very carefully. We are getting COA (Commission on Audit) involved in the audit of these projects,” he added.

Dominguez assured that the loan package from South Korea, which increased from $500 million, would be affordable for the Philippine government.

He said the interest rate on the $172 million loan for the Cebu port was 0.15 percent, which is payable for 40 years with a 10-year grace period.