Philippine Government Probes ‘Midnight Deals’ for JICA Loans

The Philippine government has decided to suspend the implementation of several projects funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency because of the questionable date of the contract signing.

 Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson blocked the implementation of what were referred to as “midnight deals” for a 3.5 billion peso (USD76.5 million) loan from JICA to fund 19 infrastructure projects, mostly for flood mitigation.

It was discovered that the contract was signed June 18, 12 days before Benigno Aquino III was sworn in as president. However, the Statement of Allocation Release Order was signed June 25, five days before the end of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s term.

According to procedure, SAROs should be signed before the contract.

The province of Pampanga, Arroyo’s bailiwick which was not severely hit by typhoons, was allocated 200 million pesos from the JICA loan.

DPWH has initiated an investigation on the crafting of the contract, ABS-CBN News reports.

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    Chiden Balmes

    Chiden, a correspondent based in Seoul, focuses on computer-assisted reporting to provide international development professionals with practical business and career information. He also contributes to the Development Newswire and the Global Development Briefing, two of the world's highest-circulation development publications.

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