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Monday, June 17, 2024

PH, Korea finalize $56.6-m loan agreement on interisland bridges

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The Philippines and South Korea on Wednesday exchanged copies of the agreement of the $56.6-million (about P2.94 billion) loan extended by the Export Import Bank of Korea-Economic Development and Cooperation Fund that will finance the engineering services for the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and KEXIM-EDCF executive director Tae-Soo Kim received from each other copies of the loan accord that was signed in April. Acting Secretary Roger Mercado of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Korea Ambassador to the Philippines Inchul Kim and KEXIM-EDCF country director Jae-Jeong Moon also attended the event.

The interisland bridges project, to be implemented by the DPWH, 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 signature “Build, Build, Build” program.

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 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.

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

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