DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 June) – Filipino business executives and their South Korean counterparts signed at least 20 agreements worth P4.8 billion during the three-day official visit of President Rodrigo Duterte in Seoul, South Korea.
In his arrival speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Tuesday evening, Duterte said the agreements would translate to around 20,000 to 25,000 jobs.
He added he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in further agreed to significantly strengthen the partnership in defense and security and protection of their people.
He said he and Moon reaffirmed their commitment to work closely in tackling traditional and emerging threats of terrorism, transnational crimes and piracy at sea.
“We both also agreed to ramp up cooperation in the regional and international fora, especially in ASEAN, to advance security, stability and the rule of law,” he said.
Duterte said the two countries forged new bilateral agreements that would increase collaboration in science and technology, infrastructure development, renewable energy deployment, trade and economic relations, transportation, agriculture, forestry and communications.
These bilateral agreements are the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for cooperation on the expansion of renewable energy development, MOU on scientific and technological cooperation, loan agreement on the new Cebu International Container Port, MOU between the Department of Transportation and the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport concerning cooperation in the field of transport, and establishment of the Joint Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez earlier announced that South Korea set aside an official development assistance fund (ODA) worth $1 billion to finance the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program. This is twice the ODA of P500 million from 2011 to 2013.
Dominguez said he assured the South Korean government of “our strict monitoring of these projects to make sure that none of the Korean taxpayers’ money is wasted in corruption and that all the ODA-supported projects will bring lasting benefits to the Filipino people.”
“I expressed the gratitude of the Filipino people for the strong support South Korea extends to our economic modernization. South Korea is firmly committed to the Philippines economic emergence. We are ready to take our place as one of Asia’s tiger economies, and we will forever be grateful for the generous partnership extended by the Korean people,” he added. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)