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Palace: Chinese firms’contracts not yet final

/ 01:25 AM October 29, 2016

Malacañang on Friday said the multimillion-dollar contracts signed between the Philippine government and Chinese companies were not final  and would undergo mandatory competitive public bidding.

READ: China trip bags $24-B deals

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella made the assurance amid concerns that a number of the Chinese companies that pledged to invest in the Philippines had shady records or were blacklisted by international groups.

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“Those are simply understandings that they can submit feasibility studies, which [will] be subject to public biddings and the necessary processes. So these are not necessarily contracts or commitments to contract,” Abella told reporters.

Abella did not reply when asked if President Duterte was aware that some of the Chinese companies involved in the agreements signed during his visit to China last week had  tainted past or dubious records.

Two of the notorious Chinese companies listed  in the President’s accomplishment report were CCCC Dredging Co., which reportedly handled China’s construction of artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea.

Massive kickbacks

It is also a sister firm of the company involved in a 2009 road project in the Philippines that was tainted by massive kickbacks.

China Harbour Engineering, which planned to bankroll the proposed Subic-Clark railway, an airport at Sangley Point, the Davao Port expansion and the  Manila Harbor reclamation, has  been banned by the World Bank for corruption in a highway project in Zimbabwe.

Abella said the contracts would be  open to other companies.

“[There] are no hard and fast rules that say, ‘Yes, we have to accept this particular company,’” said Abella, who was aware that one of the Chinese firms was  blacklisted and that the ban would be lifted by January next year.

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More Chinese investment  may be expected, as President Duterte’s son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, is in Shanghai, exploring economic possibilities.

Vice Mayor Duterte, together with five city councilors and  local government officials, arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday and met with Vice Mayor Chen Yin and Chinese business groups, including those that import banana from the Philippines.

More exchanges

In a reception at the Shanghai City Hall, Yin said there would be more exchanges between Shanghai and Davao in the coming days as a result of the strengthening of diplomatic and trade relations between China and the Philippines.

“The visit of President Duterte greatly improved our bilateral relations and brought up many opportunities and exchanges,” Yin said.

He said Shanghai would work closely with Davao to support the cooperation between China and the Philippines.

“I am sure that with great support from our governments, we can make contributions to our relationship and cooperation,” he said

“I am sure Davao will have a bright future,” he added.

Duterte said investments from Shanghai would greatly help the Davao city government in improving the quality of life of local residents.

“Davao City is determined to work harder to change the lives of our people for the better,” he said.

Duterte said Davao would focus on agriculture, tourism, energy, real estate and information technology.

“We hope to partner with the government of Shanghai in the realization of our objectives as a developed, progressive and peaceful city,” Duterte said.

Davao City information officer Jefry Tupas said  no specific investments were yet committed but he expressed confidence the delegation would get pledges.

He said Shanghai-based business groups had good relations with the Davao business community. —WITH A REPORT FROM KARLOS MANLUPIG, INQUIRER MINDANAO/TVJ

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TAGS: artificial islands, CCCC Dredging Co., China Harbour Engineering, China’s construction, Chinese companies, Davao business community, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, Davao Port expansion, Ernesto Abella, Manila Harbor reclamation, Multimillion-Dollar Contracts, Public Bidding, Sangley Point, Shanghai City Hall, South China Sea, Subic-Clark railway, World Bank
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