MANILA, Philippines – A $100.13-million loan agreement for the Panguil Bay Bridge in Misamis Occidental was signed on Thursday, April 28, by the Philippine government and the Export-Import Bank of Korea-Economic Development Cooperation Fund (KEXIM-EDCF).
This marks the first bridge infrastructure project of KEXIM-EDCF, aimed at increasing growth in Mindanao with reliable and efficient transport infrastructure connecting the northern and western areas.
National Treasurer Roberto Tan and KEXIM-EDCF chief representative Yongkeun Oh signed the loan agreement, kicking into motion the infrastructure deal.
The loan will finance the construction of a 4.19-kilometer (km) bridge across Panguil Bay, connecting the city of Tangub in Misamis Occidental and the municipality of Tubod in Lanao del Norte.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will serve as the implementing agency of the project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018.
“We appreciate the robust partnership we share with the Republic of Korea – this project is the latest evidence we have of friends from abroad placing their faith on our people,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said in a statement.
“The Panguil Bay Bridge Project not only connects two points in Mindanao; it connects us to an optimistic future for Mindanao’s growth and prosperity,” he added.
The Department of Finance (DOF) said the loan is highly concessional, carrying an interest rate of only 0.15% yearly for non-consulting services, for a total maturity of 40 years inclusive of a 10-year grace period.
Tan said before the signing the loan agreement: “With the steadfast support we have from our development partners and neighbors, we are able to fund the Republic’s infrastructure investments at a lower, and much favorable premium.”
“Increased connectivity and mobility in Mindanao ought to spur more inclusive economic activity, ensuring we get an exponential amount of return for the investment the Governments of the Republics of Korea and the Philippines put in with this loan agreement,” Tan added.
In the same event at the Bureau of the Treasury, Foreign Affairs Secretary Jose Rene Almendras signed the Individual Arrangement, while Korean Ambassador Jae-shin Kim signed on behalf of the South Korean government. – Chrisee Dela Paz/Rappler.com
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