Gov’t raised P1-T official dev’t assistance from Japan, China—Dominguez
Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez on Saturday boasted that the Duterte government had raised a “historic” P1 trillion in official development assistance (ODA) from China and Japan alone in less than seven months in office.
“And I’m only counting the amounts from China and the amounts from Japan. Both of them are roughly US$9-billion a piece, which is about 18 trillion. And there are some more ODA that we have received but I haven’t counted in from various other countries,” Dominguez said in a press briefing in Davao City.
Dominguez said this was the highest amount of ODA raised by any Philippine President in history. ODA, he said, refers to financial loans with low interest rates and long terms to pay usually allocated for infrastructure projects.
This amount does not include the US$15-billion private commercial deals sealed between China and the Philippines following President Duterte’s state visit to Beijing last year, Dominguez said.
In his two-day official visit last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also pledged P1 trillion yen or P424-billion in development assistance aid to the Philippines over the next five years.
“For the further development of the Philippines, we will create business opportunities through ODA and private sector investments which together will be of the order of one trillion yen over the next five years,” Abe said in Malacañang. “The joint committee on economic cooperation and infrastructure will be launched through which both the private and public sectors will provide a strong underpinning for nation building.”
Dominguez said the government has already submitted a list of priority projects to China in November last year, including rehabilitation of the Agus River project, irrigation projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and a seaport in Cebu, among other infrastructure projects. As for the financial aid from Japan, the finance chief said the government will start lining up projects on Monday, Jan. 16, to discuss the terms with their Japanese counterparts.
”Our team is going to China in the third week of January to discuss how to make progress in the projects that we have submitted to them,” Dominguez said, noting that the ODA were but not requested by the Philippine government but voluntarily offered by the two countries.
“Essentially, these are all for – by and large for infrastructure projects. And when we talk of infrastructure, we don’t only talk of physical infrastructure. We talk of education, we talk of training, and other services that will make our workers and citizens more competitive abroad. So it’s not only hard infrastructure but also education, science and technology, et cetera,” he added.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the P1 trillion ODA from China and Japan attracted by the government in less than seven months “reflects these countries’ complete trust and confidence in the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.”
“The ODA from China and Japan as well as from other countries will certainly offset the loss of our allotment in the Millennium Fund from the United States following the Obama administration’s unfounded allegations of human rights violations in the course of President Duterte’s war on drugs,” Andanar said in a statement. JE
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