MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III arrived from an overnight trip to South Korea late Friday night, December 12, bringing home news of a $500-million concessional loan from South Korea to fund the government’s development projects.
In his arrival speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, Aquino also cited “good news” reaped by the country this past week – another credit rating upgrade, the High Court’s action on the coconut levy fund, a new US grant, and positive developments in the NAIA 3 case against a German firm.
Aquino said that based on his bilateral meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye on Thursday, the Philippines will receive a $500-million framework agreement loan – a concessional loan with low interest rates – from her government for Philippine development projects.
Aquino added that the Korea International Cooperation Agency plans to implement an infrastructure development program in Mindanao to complement its ongoing capacity-building programs for the Bangsamoro.
The President said Park also informed him that her government has set aside an additional $20 million to help victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, on top of the $5 million that South Korea had earlier sent to help in the post-disaster efforts.
“This is the result of close and deeply-rooted ties,” he said in Filipino.
Good news back home
The President said that even before he left for South Korea, where he attended the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Republic of Korea (ROK) Commemorative Summit, the Philippines was already awash with “good news.”
He cited the decision of Moody’s Investors Service to raise the Philippines’ credit rating by one notch, or to “Baa2” from the previous level of “Baa3.”
The President also said that the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent US aid agency created by the US Congress in 2004, has again chosen the Philippines as eligible for another 5-year grant or compact. (READ: PH gets US grant for ‘successful’ corruption fight)
Four years ago, the MCC had awarded the Philippines a $434-million grant to fund 3 major poverty reduction projects.
“This is a vote of confidence for our reforms on tuwid na daan (straight and narrow path), and will launch even more initiatives against poverty,” Aquino said.
Another good news for the Philippines, he said, is the favorable ruling of a US arbitration institution on the government’s case against NAIA 3 builders Fraport AG, the country’s second legal victory in the long-running case.
The Philippine Star has reported that the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) had awarded the Philippine government a $5-million remuneration from Fraport, for defaming the country in the world stage.
Aquino also cited the recent decision of the Supreme Court to issue an entry of judgment for its final decision on the fate of the coconut levy funds made on September 4, 2012, which frees P71 billion for programs that would directly benefit coconut farmers.
“This is good news for our coconut farmers this Christmas season,” he said.
Aquino said the challenge to the government is to “match this good news with the resolute implementation of programs and projects for the permanent transformation of society.” – Rappler.com
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