Economic managers to seek more Chinese support for infra projects
The Duterte administration’s economic managers later this month will seek more support for the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program from the Chinese government as well as investors, the Department of Finance said Friday.
In a statement, the DOF said Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III will lead the Cabinet-level delegation for the infrastructure roadshow in China on Sept. 27-29.
“The Philippine delegation will meet with Chinese ministry officials on Sept. 27 in Beijing and proceed the following day to Shanghai, China’s financial center, to generate support for the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program of the Duterte administration,” the DOF said.
Under the “Build, Build, Build,” the government will rollout 75 flagship, “game-changing” infrastructure projects to be started and finished in the next six years, in line with plans to spend up to P9 trillion on hard and modern infrastructure until 2022.
The economic managers “will also meet with high-ranking Chinese officials to discuss the progress of the preparations for the Philippines’ big-ticket infrastructure projects that would be partly funded by official development assistance (ODA) from China,” according to the DOF.
Dominguez will be joined by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, as well as Bases Conversion and Development Authority president Vivencio Dizon, the DOF said.
During a recent meeting in Manila between the economic managers and China Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, the Philippine and Chinese governments noted of “substantial progress made in revitalizing and strengthening economic relations between their two countries,” the DOF said early this week.
They attributed the closer economic ties to “favorable and enabling environment fostered by their continuous efforts to fast-track the implementation of infrastructure projects that the Philippines has presented to China for possible financing,” the DOF had said.
Specifically, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and Zhong both “acknowledged the efforts of the two sides to streamline government processes to speed up the preparations for and implementation of the first basket of infrastructure projects presented for Chinese financing,” according to the DOF.
The first batch of projects to be financed by China were the P10.9-billion New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project and the P2.7-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project.
The DOF had quoted Dominguez as saying that “potential bidders have already been identified for the Chico Irrigation and Kaliwa Dam projects,” but did not elaborate.
According to the DOF, “the Chinese government is looking forward to the submission of the second basket of projects being lined up by Philippines for possible funding by China.”
Last month, Dominguez told legislators that the government approved plans to borrow P140 billion from China on top of securing P6 billion in grants for infrastructure projects.
Dominguez had said they were negotiating that the Chinese government slap the ODA loans with an interest rate of lower than 2 percent per annum.
Also, Dominguez had said negotiations were ongoing for the grants that the Chinese government would provide to two bridge projects along the Pasig River: the P4.6-billion Binondo-Intramuros bridge and the P1.4-billion Estrella-Pantaleon bridge.
But Dominguez had clarified that the Philippine and Chinese sides were still “firming up the commitments” made by the latter on a project-to-project basis.
The Finance chief had noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping in October last year committed about $9 billion in ODA as well as commercial loan financing for the Philippines.
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