Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. expressed gratitute to the South Korean government for pouring almost a billion peso worth of projects into the province of Iloilo.
These projects were implemented in the province through grants from the Korea International Cooperation Agency ( KOICA).
KOICA is a government-funded agency that manages the technical assistance and grant aid aspects of Korea’s ODA (Overseas Development Assistance) program overseas.
“Only Iloilo in this country received this much assistance from KOICA. This is not just a token assistance but assistance intended to uplift the quality of life of the people of Iloilo,” Defensor said during a thanksgiving and welcome dinner for KOICA President Lee Mikyung recently.
Mikyung cited Defensor’s “good leadership” as one of the factors that made their projects in Iloilo successful.
“I thanked him for keeping this mutual partnership strong,” he said.
Mikyung, together with their Southeast Asia Department Director Kim Junmo and Philippine Country Director Shin Myung Seop, were in Iloilo last month to turnover the P20-million Panay Local Food Terminal in San Miguel town.
The project was part of the third phase of P65.5-million Panay Island Upland Sustainable Rural Development Project implemented through the Department of Agriculture.
It also included the establishment of ten Bayanihan Tipon Centers in Libacao and Madalag, Aklan; Patnongon, Sebaste and Tobias Fornier in Antique; Jamindan and Tapaz, Capiz; and Alimodian, Lambunao and Tubungan, Iloilo.
The third phase took off after KOICA improved the living condition (phase 1) and successfully implemented their income-generating projects for farmer associations in ten pilot upland barangays (phase 2) in Panay.
During Defensor’s term as congressman of the third district from 2001 until 2009, he asked KOICA’s help to fund the P200-million state-of-the-art Rice Processing Complex in Brgy. Amamaros, Pototan.
Since it was built in 2012, the project has been instrumental in the processing and packaging of quality milled rice from various farmers cooperative in Iloilo. It also significantly reduced their post-harvest losses and maximized the use of their rice by-products.
In 2013, KOICA provided P287-million ODA for the expansion and rehabilitation of Iloilo’s three remote hospitals in thectowns of Alimodian, Balasan, and Calinog.
The project provided the hospitals and the rural health units located in the inter-local health zone with basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal health care facilities to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rate here.
It also strengthened the health referral system of these hospitals by providing each of them with ambulances worth over P7 million.
At present, KOICA is helping the province expand and rehabilitate its seaport in Concepcion with an ODA worth $5.5-million (P275 million).Jezza Nepmuceno/IMT