Economic team heading to China to woo financiers to PH’s construction binge
The country’s economic managers later this month would seek more support from the Chinese government and investors for the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
Based on a statement from the DOF released Friday, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III would lead a Cabinet-level delegation for an infrastructure road show 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 in the statement.
Under President Duterte’s banner “Build, Build, Build,” the government would roll out 75 flagship, “game-changing” infrastructure projects. The government 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 would be joined by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and 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.
Dominguez 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 would be 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 planned to borrow P140 billion from China on top of securing P6 billion in grants for infrastructure projects.
Dominguez said they were negotiating for an interest rate of lower than 2 percent per annum for the loans from China.
Dominguez also said they were negotiating for grants on two bridge projects along the Pasig River: The P4.6-billion Binondo-Intramuros bridge and the P1.4-billion Estrella-Pantaleon bridge.
Dominguez had clarified the two sides were still “firming up the commitments.”
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.