• South Korea grants PHL USD 500-million concessional loan

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    The South Korean government is extending USD 500-million framework agreement loan for the country’s development projects, President Benigno S. Aquino III announced upon his arrival from South Korea Friday evening.

    The fund is a concessional loan with favorable interest rate for the Philippines, the President said in his arrival speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.

    Aquino said the loan was on top of the USD 5-million and USD20-million grants Seoul is extending to the Philippines for the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the areas struck by Typhoon Yolanda last year.

    President Aquino did not elaborate about the loan but he said it was called a “concessional loan” that offered a good interest rate. President Aquino said the loan was discussed during his bilateral meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye last Thursday.

    “Napakaganda po ng interest na ipagkakaloob sa atin, at kung tutuusin ay talagang tinutulungan lang tayo sa ating mga proyektong pampaunlad,” he said.

    South Korea also spelled out development plans for Mindanao and other parts of the country, the President added.

    “Balak pa nga nilang ipatupad ang infrastructure development program ng Korea International Cooperation Agency para sa Mindanao, kasabay ng pagpapatuloy ng mga programa nila para sa capacity-building sa Bangsamoro.”

    During the meeting with President Park Geun-hye, the South Korean leader mentioned the interests of South Korean businessmen to invest or expand in the Philippines.

    President Park also shared the expertise of South Korea on port development particularly on building coastal breakwaters, something that could be adopted in the Philippines.

    “Hindi nga po natin tatanggihan ang pagbabahagi ng ganitong kasanayan at kaalaman, lalo pa’t galing ang mga ito sa isang bansa na malapit sa atin at talagang hinahangaan sa mga naturang larangan,” he stressed.

    Aside from sending Araw troops, (South Korean soldiers) immediately after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda last year, South Korea also donated 5 million dollars to help the survivors.

    This time, South Korea is extending another USD 20 million in assistance for the rehabilitation of devastated areas in Eastern Visayas, the President said.

    “Ganito nga po ang bunga ng matalik at malalim na ugnayan: Pagdadamayan na nakaangkla sa hangaring bigyang-lakas ang kapwa para sa ikabubuti ng nakakarami o ng lahat.”

    The President visited South Korea this week for the 25th Anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Commemorative Summit. PNA

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