China extends $201.8M in new infra loans to PH
The Philippines secured fresh loans from China totalling $201.8 million, intended to bankroll key infrastructure projects of the Marcos administration, such as bridges and flood control systems.
In addition, China has agreed to make available about $218 million additional funds for future projects.
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in a statement the additional funding brought to $1.06 billion Beijing’s loan commitments for Manila’s ongoing projects.
Diokno said several bilateral agreements and a project completion document were signed on Jan. 4, during the President’s three-day state visit to China, of which delegation he was part.
“The signing of these agreements demonstrates the strong commitment between China and the Philippines to deepen bilateral cooperation through infrastructure development,” he said.
Diokno and Wu Fulin, chair of the loan provider Export-Import Bank of China, signed four separate loan agreements related to the financing of the Priority Bridges Crossing Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway project.
Also, Diokno signed with Luo Zhaohui, chair of the China International Development Cooperation Agency, an agreement on economic and technical cooperation, which earmarks 1.5 billion renminbi—equivalent to about $217.7 million or P12.2 billion—for “projects to be agreed between China and the Philippines based on the development plan and specific needs of the Philippine government.”
Further, Diokno signed with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao the handover certificate for the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, which were respectively completed in April 2022 and September 2021.
Built as “China-Aid Bridges” during the Duterte administration, and spanning the Pasig River in Manila and between Makati City and Mandaluyong City, these bridges are intended to help improve the capacity and efficiency of the road transport network in Metro Manila.
According to a joint statement dated Jan. 5, aside from the handover paper and the loan agreement for bridges and flood control in Pasig City, Beijing and Manila signed 12 other cooperation documents including:
- A memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative,
- Arrangement on the establishment of a communication mechanism on maritime issues between the respective ministries of foreign affairs of both countries,
- MOU on cooperation on digital and information and communications technology,
- A joint action plan on agricultural and fisheries cooperation during the period 2023-2025,
- MOU on electronic commerce cooperation,
- A handover certificate of Sino-Philippine Center for Agricultural Technology-Technical Cooperation Program Phase 3 (Philscat-TCP 3),
- Implementation program of the MOU on tourism cooperation in 2023-2028;
- Protocol of phytosanitary requirements for the export to China of fresh durian from the Philippines,
- Mutual recognition arrangement between the respective customs agencies of both countries regarding an authorized economic operator program,
- Agreement on economic and technical cooperation,
- MOU on as Development Cooperation Plan 2023-2025,
- A framework agreement on the provision by China of a concessional loan to the Philippines.
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