By: Philippine Resources January 15, 2024

Officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) of the Republic of Korea and the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) held an open discussion on the on-going and pipeline infrastructure flagship projects (IFPs) under Official Development Assistance (ODA) financing by Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund (KEDCF).

DPWH Senior Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain said that the policy dialogue meeting on December 19, 2023 in Manila with Korean delegation headed by MOEF Director Park Jeong-Hyun will contribute to the collective effort in fast-tracking big-ticket Korean-funded infrastructure projects in the Philippines as well as enhance financial frameworks to optimize the support provided by the lending institution.

The dialogue serves as a platform to align strategies and will guide the DPWH and lending institution in addressing bottlenecks, and ensuring the successful implementation of projects, added Senior Undersecretary Sadain.

The meeting was also participated by MOEF Deputy Director Lee Hyun-Ji; EDCF-KEXIM Headquarters Director General Jang Ik-Hwan, Senior Loan Officer Shin Yujin, Director Cho Eun-Jin, Loan Officer Kook Sungkeun; and EDCF-KEXIM Manila Office Country Director Moon Jae-Jeong, and Deputy Country Directors Lee Yun-Hak and Kwon Min-Jeong; and DPWH Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) officials namely Project Director Benjamin A. Bautista of Roads Management Cluster 1, Project Director Sharif Madsmo H. Hasim of Roads Management Cluster 2, and Project Director Ramon A. Arriola III of Flood Control Management Cluster, and Stakeholders Relations Service Director Randy R. Del Rosario.

Among the projects tackled in the meeting is the nearing completion of the 3.169 kilometer Panguil Bay Bridge which is now 83.56% completed. This will connect Tangub City in Misamis Occidental to the Municipality of Tubod in Lanao Del Norte, reducing travel time from 2.5 hours to seven (7) minutes, and is targeted to open to vehicular traffic in the first half of 2024.

Subsequently, the ongoing Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (IDRR-CCA) in low-lying areas of Pampanga, is currently at 82.91% completion rate. This project aims to minimize the flooding situation in various Municipalities in Pampanga including Macabebe, Masantol, Minalin, and Sto. Tomas. Thus, improving the drainage system on the four (4) rivers along the Eastern Branch River, the Caduang Tete River, and the Sapang Margul River.

Also highlighted in the discussion are the ODA-KEDCF projects which are currently in the primary stage of planning, feasibility study (FS), and detailed engineering design (DED) to include the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project with its contract for the DED approved just recently. This project will be the gateway between three (3) islands in Western Visayas namely Panay in Metro Iloilo, Guimaras Island Province, and Negros. Hence, reducing the travel time to approximately one (1) hour, from the 4-hour via ferries.

Moreover, the Samar Pacific Coastal Road (SPCR) II Project improves the connectivity and access to services and economic activities in the Pacific Towns of the Provinces of Northern and Eastern Samar, now awaits the approval of the DED. This 15.01km project will link the island of Laoang to mainland Northern Samar.

Also discussed in the presentation of Senior Undersecretary Sadain are the Philippines - Korea Project Preparation Facility (PK-PPF), Road and Bridges Output for the following contract packages for feasibility study and detailed engineering design: (1) Lubao-Guagua-Sasmuan-Minalin-Santo Tomas Bypass Road in Pampanga, (2) Mount Kitanglad Range Belt Road in Bukidnon, and (3) Capas-Botolan Road in Tarlac and Zambales.

Further, the PK-PPF Flood Control Output is at 76.91% in the Master Planning and Feasibility Study stage. This project covers the four (4) major river basins, including the Pampanga River Basin, Bicol River Basin, Panay River Basin, and Agusan River Basin dedicated to establishing policies, strategies, and improvement works adaptive to Climate Change.

These projects will further realized the “Build, Better, More” program of the government to address the inadequacies of infrastructure and spur economic growth under “Bagong Pilipinas”.

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