‘Dutertenomics’ goes to China
BEIJING, CHINA—Philippine economic managers will pitch the Duterte administration’s infrastructure program to Chinese officials today in a bid to further boost interest among Chinese firms, months after President Duterte brought home multibillion-dollars worth of pledges from the private sector here.
Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana told reporters on Saturday that cabinet officials would be in Beijing to talk about Dutertenomics, which highlights the government’s ambitious infrastructure projects.
While a separate event in itself, this will coincide with the last leg of the two-day Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation that is also being held in Beijing. President Duterte is participating in the BRF.
Sta. Romana said the Philippine Embassy in China had received a number of inquiries from Chinese firms asking about the business environment in the country. While he could not give out their names, he said that these firms were interested in pursuing projects in the Philippines.
Asian powerhouse neighbors
“We have asked them to listen to the cabinet secretaries because this is actually the answer to their questions. There will be a number of Chinese companies that will participate in that forum,” he said.
President Duterte made a state visit to China in October last year, signaling his administration’s shift in foreign strategy as it now edges closer to its the Asian powerhouse neighbors. After the visit, the delegation brought home $24 billion worth of pledges and credit facilities. Of this figure, $15 billion was attributed to the private sector.
The cabinet officials first introduced the “build, build, build” initiative during the Dutertenomics forum in Manila last month. They also brought the forum to Cambodia earlier this month where they spoke with foreign media and investors there.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in April that the Duterte administration planned to roll out more than P3.6 trillion in public infrastructure projects from 2018 to 2020, promising “game-changing” projects that would roll out and be completed before the end of the administration.
In total, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said P8.4 trillion would be spent on infrastructure during the six-year term of President Duterte, increasing the share of infrastructure spending in the gross domestic product (GDP) from 5.4 percent this year to 7.4 percent in 2022.
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