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DoF: Japan remains Phl top ODA partner



Japan remained as the country’s top official development assistance (ODA) provider, spanning across three administrations, the Department of Finance (DoF) said.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the DoF’s International Finance Group (IFG) said that Japan’s ODA from 2001 to 2020 comprised almost a two-thirds or 72 percent ($14.13 billion) of the Philippines’ total bilateral portfolio of $19.65 billion during the period.

Still, the IFG reported that fiscal support from European Union and China made up for 16 and 6 percent of the overall ODA loans during the same period with $3.04 billion and $1.18 billion respectively.

Rounding up the list were loans from South Korea ($1.10 billion), United States ($160 million) and the Middle East ($20 million).

Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven who heads the IFG said that during the Arroyo administration, total bilateral loans from Japan were at $3.2 billion or 52.7 percent of the total while those during the late Aquino III administration stood at $4.81 billion or 85 percent of the overall stock.

Still, the Finance executive said that during the Duterte administration, total contracted loans were estimated at $7.94 billion, which will be used mainly for its ambitious infrastructure development program and COVID-19 response programs.

“The extensive bilateral borrowing during the (Duterte) administration has been instrumental in allowing the (government) to spend around 5 percent of gross domestic product for infrastructure to spur economic growth and in safeguarding development gains during the pandemic,” Joven explained.

During the current administration, total ODA from Japan accounted for 77 percent or $6.12 billion.

To recall, several private economists said that higher government spending will help boost recovery prospects amid the still weak household consumption despite the accommodative monetary policy stance held by the central bank to date.