PH seals $56.6-M Korean loan for bridges

Published May 4, 2022, 3:05 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Export Import Bank of Korea-Economic Development and Cooperation Fund (KEXIM-EDCF) has sealed a loan to the Philippines to finance the engineering services for the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island bridges project.

In a statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said that the Philippines and Korea exchanged their copies of the agreement on Wednesday, May 4, for the $56.6-million loan extended by KEXIM-EDCF.

On behalf of their respective governments, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and KEXIM-EDCF Executive Director Tae-Soo Kim received from each other their copies of the loan accord that was signed last month.

Also at the ceremony held at the DOF headquarters were Acting Public Works and Highways Secretary Roger Mercado, Korea Ambassador to the Philippines Inchul Kim and KEXIM-EDCF Country Director Jae-Jeong Moon.

To be implemented by the DPWH, the interisland bridges project involves the construction of two sea-crossing, four-lane bridges spanning 32.47-kilometers combined—including connecting roads and interchanges—that will connect the islands of Panay, Guimaras and Negros in Western Visayas.

The project is among the big-ticket items under President Duterte’s infrastructure modernization program “Build, Build, Build.”

KEXIM-EDCF’s loan for the engineering services of the project, which includes the preliminary design, detailed engineering design and procurement assistance, will support the Philippine government in preparing and completing the necessary activities and works prior to the construction of the two bridges.

This zero-interest loan with a 0.1 percent service charge per disbursement covers a maturity period of 40 years, inclusive of a 10-year grace period.

With a total estimated cost of P187.54 billion, the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project is expected to commence engineering services this year, and begin construction in 2025.