MANILA -- Less than a year in office, President Rodrigo Duterte has already raised close to P1 trillion in official development assistance (ODA), according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.
Since July 1, Dominguez said Duterte has raised the highest amount of ODA or financial loans usually used for infrastructure projects, compared to any Philippine president in history.
“And I'm only counting the amounts from China and the amounts from Japan. Both of them are roughly US$9 billion a piece. And there are some more ODA that we have received but I haven't counted in from various other countries,” he said a press conference Saturday.
Domiguez said ODA from China and Japan amounted to around $9 billion each, while private commercial deals between China and the Philippines amounted to around $15 billion.
Both countries have been visited by Duterte last year following his pivot away from the United States.
The foreign assistance will be used to fund infrastructure projects such as the rehabilitation of the Agus River project, irrigation projects in the ARMM and a seaport in Cebu, according to Dominguez.
During his visit to the Philippines, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo pledged 1 trillion yen (P424 billion) for infrastructure projects in the country.
“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.
The Finance secretary said the government is looking to develop infrastructure in areas outside Metro Manila, particularly in Mindanao and in Northern Luzon.
“We're looking, we will look here in Mindanao. We'll look up north, beyond Pampanga and those areas to develop the infrastructure that will allow companies to locate and create jobs and to provide jobs as well as exports for the country,” he said.