China funding sought for 40 infra projects
The Duterte administration pitched a total of 40 infrastructure projects for either funding or technical support by the Chinese government, including the planned railway that will connect Manila to the Bicol region.
In a statement on Wednesday following the Philippine economic managers’ two-day visit and meetings in China, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said 15 projects ranging from “small” to “large” were proposed for loan financing. Funding assistance for the feasibility studies on 25 other project was proposed.
Among the specific projects pitched to be funded by the Chinese government were the $3.01-billion south line of the North-South Railway, the $374.03-million New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project in Quezon province and the $53.6-million Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in the provinces of Cagayan and Kalinga.
The 653-kilometer south line, which will consist of commuter railway operations between Tutuban in Manila and Calamba, Laguna, as well as long-haul railway operations between Tutuban and Legazpi City in Albay province, is poised to be the biggest public-private partnership (PPP) project to date. It is being reviewed by the Department of Transportation, according to the PPP Center website.
Also included on the list up for consideration by the Chinese government were smaller yet easier to implement projects such as bridges to be built across Pasig River aimed at easing traffic congestion in Metro Manila, according to the Department of Finance.
According to Dominguez, the meetings between Duterte’s economic managers with officials of the Chinese commerce ministry were a “productive first step toward achieving the desire of President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping in further reinforcing ties between the two countries.”
During the meeting with Minister Gao Hucheng of China’s Ministry of Commerce, Dominguez informed Chinese officials about the Duterte administration’s three priority objectives, which were to reduce poverty, develop a law-abiding citizenry and establish “a society whose citizens were at peace among themselves and with their neighbors in the international community,” the DOF said.
“My expectation is that the projects that we have discussed would be implemented very quickly and that it would benefit both the people of China and the Philippines,” Dominguez said.
The two sides would further discuss details of the projects submitted for potential Chinese financing or technical assistance during another meeting to be held in Manila next month, the finance chief said.
“The generous assistance offered by China to the Philippines is among the concrete results of the President’s foreign policy rebalancing toward accelerated integration with Asean and its major Asian trading partners,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez was joined in the China trip by Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, among other high-ranking government officials. Ben O. de Vera
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