IN just seven months, President Rodrigo Duterte has raised the biggest official development assistance in the history of Philippine presidents, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said Saturday night.
“From July 1st to now, the President has raised close to 1 trillion pesos in official development assistance. And I’m only counting the amounts from China and from Japan... There’s more ODA that we have received but haven’t counted in from various countries,” he said.
ODA refers to outright grants and loans given by foreign governments to support developing countries by providing low-interest and long-term or concessional funds to finance their development efforts.
To date, the ODA from China and Japan totaled to $18 billion, at $9 billion each.
“The ODA from Japan, as announced by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is one trillion yen, which is equivalent to more or less $9 billion,” Dominguez said.
For the ODA from China, Dominguez said, the government has already submitted the list of projects to China last November, which include the rehabilitation of the Agus River project that would include irrigation projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and a seaport in Cebu.
“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.
For the financial assistance from Japan, the Finance chief said, the administration will start lining up the projects on Monday, Jan. 16, to discuss in more detail the terms from Japan.
He said the foreign aid from China and Japan countries were not requested but voluntary offers from the two countries.
“I think they [China and Japan] are collaborating to help our country move ahead. I think they see a lot of potential in the Philippine economy, potential for our growth and potential for them to do business here,” Dominguez said, adding the administration will still welcome ODA from other countries as long as the offers match the government’s priorities.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the ODA from China and Japan as well as from other countries would offset the loss of the country’s allotment in the Millennium Fund from the United States, which was held back amid concerns over human rights abuses in the administration’s war on drugs.
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