OSAKA, Japan - The Philippines has yet to settle some ¥ 965 billion (P512.4 billion) worth of development packages it borrowed from Japan in the past years, making it the fourth country across the world with a huge outstanding loans based on the list of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
But the good news is that the Philippines has no current pending loans from Japan and is assessed to be a good payer, according to Michino Yamaguchi, of the JICA-Media Division.
"The Philippines repays the outstanding loan steadily," said Yamaguchi.
Based on JICA records, most of the loan packages were spent to transportation-based projects like building of roads, bridges, ports, and airports across the Philippines.
From 1971, Japan has already infused some ¥ 757 billion in the transportation-based projects, accounting for 35 percent of the entire development loan assistance to the Philippines.
Commodity loans came next with 19 percent, followed by electric and power-related projects with 13 percent, Agriculture/Forestry/Fisheries with 11 percent and Irrigation and Flood Control with 10 percent.
A total of $20.5 billion has already been lent to the Philippines via Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Third World Countries, but only ¥ 965 billion remain unpaid so far.
"As the Philippines is classified to be a Lower-Middle-Income country based on Income Category of the World Bank, the terms and conditions of Lower Middle Income Countries are applied," said Yamaguchi.
As a lower middle income country, the Philippines is accorded concessional terms on its ODA loan availment. These include a 1.4 percent interest with repayment period of 30 years, including a 10-year grace period.
Topping the JICA list is Indonesia, followed by China then India. Completing the Top 10 list are Vietnam, Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Egypt, and Turkey.
Tsutomu Kudo, director of JICA-Media Division, said the ranking is as of 2010 as he explained that they are yet to wait until the end of next month to complete the figures for 2011.
"These loans have to be repaid," said Kudo, as he noted a downtrend on the amount being allocated by Japan for development assistance to the needy countries since 2005.
Kudo admitted that the downtrend was brought by the global financial crisis in the past years but he revealed Japan's plan to increase the ODA fund in the coming years.
But this time, he said the funds will be focused on countries that need most of foreign assistance like African countries.
JICA is the executing agency of Japan's ODA and works in more than 150 countries. Aside from granting loans, it also uses other ODA tools such as technical assistance and providing study grant to students and professionals of Third World countries.