MANILA – The Philippines has renewed development cooperation with South Korea, expanding financing assistance for priority sectors in the country, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

NEDA Deputy Director-General Rolando G. Tungpalan said the government of South Korea is making available a $500-million credit line to the Philippines under the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) for 2014-2017.

“The topped up EDCF provides additional funding option for items outlined in our Public Investment Program (PIP). This should allow us to ensure execution of priority programs and projects in the next few years,” Tungpalan said.

For the period 2011-2013, four infrastructure projects with loan requirements totaling about $335.78 million were committed for funding under the EDCF. These projects are the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project, Stage II, the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project, the Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Measures in Low-Lying Areas of Pampanga Bay, and the Baler-Casiguran Road Improvement Project.

“South Korea is interested in infrastructure projects especially in agriculture, energy and transportation. Their expertise in these areas could be beneficial to the country as we address infrastructure backlogs to accelerate development and recovery from recent calamities,” Tungpalan noted.

The South Korean government, he said, has also expressed interest to fund disaster prevention and rehabilitation projects in light of damages brought by typhoon Yolanda.

He added that the sectors in which South Korea has expressed interest on are aligned with the priorities of the updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and are opportunities for further deepening Philippines-South Korea collaboration.

Tungpalan emphasized, however, that the revised framework in financing national government projects will maximize the use of ODA for projects requiring foreign content, expertise and technology. Further, ODA will be utilized if there are inherent advantages and value-added from tapping the prospective ODA funding source, and if the said funding source can assure timely project implementation and completion.

The government’s priority projects are identified in the PIP. Based on this, NEDA determines the projects that require financing in the short- to medium-term and validates their required foreign content, technology or expertise. The Department of Finance, on the other hand, determines the most appropriate financing mode and source for the projects.

“While we appreciate development agencies offering financing assistance, we are firm on focusing these on the identified priority areas or sectors outlined in the PDP. We also would like to make sure we get high-quality, high-impact projects at the least cost” Tungpalan concluded.