South Korea grants US$100 M loan to PH for COVID-19 response

Published November 2, 2020, 6:58 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

The South Korean government has granted a US$100 million loan to the Philippine government for its response to the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Eximbank) announced on Monday, Nov. 2, that it signed with the Department of Finance (DOF) last Thursday, Oct. 29, the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) COVID-19 Emergency Program Loan worth US$100 million.

“This was the first and largest COVID19-related bilateral assistance offered by the Republic of Korea to a partner country, so far,” Eximbank said in a statement.

“The Korean Government, via the Korea Eximbank’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), has allotted a total of USD 540 million this year to help finance national COVID-19 responses in 14 developing countries,” it cited.

Due to travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, Eximbank noted that the agreement between the Philippine and South Korean governments was cross-signed by mail.

“Through this program loan, which is a type of budgetary support for policy establishment and implementation of COVID-19 response strategies, the Government of Korea expresses its solidarity with the Philippines and the international community in the ongoing global battle against coronavirus,” Eximbank said.

“It is also hoped that this will further strengthen relations between Korea and the Philippines in the field of public health and safety in addition to diverse areas of cooperation over the past 70 years,” it added.

The loan is the third agreement signed by the two countries under the US$1 billion EDCF Framework for the years 2017 through 2022.

“This particular type of program loan shall provide immediate financing/budgetary support to the recipient country for economic policies or implementation of sector development plans. It may also take the form of an emergency relief fund for a pandemic situation like COVID-19,” Eximbank explained.

Eximbank has been managing the EDCF which the Korean government established on June 1, 1987 with the purpose of promoting economic cooperation between Korea and developing countries.

“Most EDCF projects in the Philippines have focused on infrastructure development, particularly roads and bridges, and the transportation sectors,” Eximbank noted.