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Spain offers $300M in funding assistance

Spain has offered to provide a $300-million worth of official development assistance (ODA) to the Philippines over the next three years, a Finance department official said, with the funds targeted for use in number of infrastructure projects.

“We have received another offer from an ODA partner and this time around it’s from the Spanish government,” Finance Assistant Secretary Maria Editha Tan told reporters in an interview.

“This is $300 million worth of ODA over the next three years,” she added.

Madrid, Tan said, wants the funds to be utilized for infrastructure, energy, renewable energy, telecommunications, water treatment, solid waste, agro-food and tourism projects.

The Finance department is now crafting the requisite memorandum of understanding (MoU), expected to be completed in the next two months, and choosing from available financing facilities.

“We are still crafting the MoU but the terms are very good. We can either tap the euro facility or the US dollar facility,” Tan said.

The euro facility, she explained, carries a 0.25-percent interest rate over a 35-year period, inclusive of a 10-year grace period, while the dollar facility has a 1.15-percent interest rate over a 20-year period plus a 10-year grace period.

In a related development, the Finance department also said that Philippine and Chinese officials would be meeting in Beijing this week “to continue discussions on ways to address the issues and challenges in the preparation and implementation” of flagship infrastructure projects that China committed to support via ODA loans and grants.

The August 22-24 meetings will include updates on the progress of the “first basket” of projects such as the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project, Philippine National Railways South Long Haul Project, Davao-Samal Bridge Construction Project and with the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon bridges.

“The high-level meetings will focus on strengthening and enhancing our bilateral engagement and cooperation. We express the hope that a number of bilateral documents would be presented and signed during the meeting, among them the exchange of letters for the feasibility study of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Inter-Island Bridges Project,” the department said in a statement.

Also up for discussion are projects under the “second basket,” including the Ambal-Simuay River and Rio Grande de Mindanao River Flood Control Projects, Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway Bridges Construction Project, Subic-Clark Railway Project, Safe Philippines Project Phase I and the Rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric Power Plants Project.

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