Philippines-China dev’t plan seen completed in February

Posted on February 06, 2017

THE GOVERNMENT is set to complete the Philippine-China development plan in time for the official visit of the Chinese delegation later this month, said the country’s Finance chief.

President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shake hands after a signing ceremony in Beijing on October 20, 2016. AFP
Following the visit of a Philippine delegation to Beijing last month, its Chinese counterparts will in turn visit the Philippines on February 23-24, to discuss investment and trade deals.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that he seeks to complete the Six-Year Development Program with Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng by the time the Chinese official embarks on his two-day visit.

Mr. Gao will also be accompanied by Chinese businessmen.

“We hope that by the time Minister Gao visits here, we would also be able to complete the Six-Year Development Program for China-Philippines Cooperation. We eagerly look forward to Minister Gao’s visit because there will be much to accomplish on both sides,” Mr. Dominguez said in a statement.

The Six-Year Development Program is a comprehensive economic cooperation plan, which aims to enhance trade and investment between the two Asian countries.

The development program’s Memorandum of Understanding was signed during President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s visit to China in October.

Mr. Dominguez also said that before Mr. Gao arrives, the formal letter for request of the 40 “large and small scale” priority projects will have been submitted.

Philippine economic managers, together with the secretaries from the infrastructure and transportation sector, endorsed the 40 infrastructure projects in their visit to Beijing on Jan. 23-24, 15 of which are proposed for loan financing, while the other 25 were due for feasibility studies.

Mr. Gao said previously that he “absolutely agrees” with the projects presented.

The Department of Finance (DoF) previously revealed three-large scale projects were worth $3.4 billion, which were the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project for Cagayan and Kalinga, the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project in Quezon Province, and the South Line of the North-South Railway connecting Manila to Legaspi City.

Some of the small-scale projects on the other hand were the construction of bridges crossing Pasig River.

Mr. Dominguez and Mr. Gao previously agreed to fast-track the projects through regular consultations between the two countries.

Moreover, the Chinese delegation is scheduled to relaunch the Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation (JCETC) on its official visit.

Chinese officials has pledged $15 billion investment deals which were discussed in Mr. Duterte’s visit in October, which was three months after he announced a foreign policy shift towards China. -- E.J.C. Tubayan