By: Philippine Resources September 25, 2023

Top officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) participated at the Global Infrastructure Cooperation Conference (GICC) 2023 on September 19-20, 2023 at the Grand Inter Continental Seoul Parnas, Korea.

Hosted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport of the Republic of Korea (MOLIT) and organized by the International Contractors Association of Korea, the 2023 GICC was attended by DPWH Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan, Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, and Project Directors Ramon A. Arriola III and Benjamin A. Bautista of DPWH Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) operations.

The DPWH officials also participated at the high-level bilateral meetings with MOLIT Minister Hee-ryong Won and other world leaders in the infrastructure industry, creating a venue for more bilateral relations to be forged.

In its 11th year, the GICC being one of the largest Korean international conferences has been renowned for bringing to the fore some of the pressing issues in the infrastructure industry that need immediate intervention.

GICC serves as an efficient and helpful platform for government agencies, private companies, and multilateral development banks (MDBs) to come together to discuss infrastructure projects, policies, and development plans across countries, hence building and strengthening project partnerships, relationships, and networks.

The DPWH has established a long-time partnership with Korea that has emerged over the years as a powerhouse in infrastructure development.

Some of the Philippines' infrastructure flagship projects are funded through Korea Economic Development Cooperation Fund (KEDCF) – Korea's representative aid fund for Official Development Assistance (ODA) to facilitate infrastructure projects to developing countries.

Among the projects of DPWH assisted by KEDCF include the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project (SPCR) in Northern Samar, which was inaugurated last July 13, 2023 by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. that is designed to improve travel time and boost the local economy in the province.

In addition, the 3.17-kilometer Panguil Bay Bridge Project (PBBP) that will connect the City of Tangub in Misamis Occidental to the Municipality of Tubod in Lanao del Norte is presently at more than 75% completion rate and targetted to open to vehicular traffic by first half of 2024.

The engineering services of the 32.47-kilometer Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges, a long-time dream project in the Western Visayas Region, is covered by loans from the Government of the Republic of Korea.

Currently under bidding with the Department, the scope of engineering services are preliminary design covering review of the feasibility study and preliminary and basic design; detailed engineering design including estimation of detailed construction cost; and procurement assistance.

Composed of two (2) sea-crossing bridges connecting Panay Island, Guimaras Island and Negros Island in Western Visayas Region, Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project will shorten travel time of commuters and motorists and transport of goods from Panay to Negros Islands through ferries/RORO of 3-4 hours to just less than 1 hour.

Meanwhile, a fact-finding mission from the national headquarters of Export–Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) was in Manila last May 2023 and discussed with Senior Undersecretary Sadain pipeline projects for possible enhanced cooperation under Economic Development Promotion Facility (EDPF) which is a new ODA loan program of the Korean Government to cover financial gap for large-scale infrastructure.

The Korea Eximbank as an independent ODA agency has the mandate to operate and manage the EDPF including identifying pipeline projects, loan approval and signing loan agreements.

Pipeline projects initially selected for possible loan co-financing under EDPF and Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund are the civil works of 28.82-kilometer Lubao-Guagua-Sasmuan-Minanlin-Santo Tomas Bypass Road in Pampanga; civil works for Pampanga Integrated Disaster Risk and Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (IDRR CCA) – Stage II covering the Third River and Eastern Branch that traverses municipalities of Macabebe, Minalin, and Sto. Tomas; detailed engineering design and civil works of 10.6-kilometer Consolacion-Liloan Bypass Road with two (2) bridges and feasibility study of Lapu-Lapu Coastal Road in the Province of Cebu.

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