CABINET OFFICIALS will visit China on Sept. 27-29 in a bid to attract more potential infrastructure investors as well as to review the progress of projects with pledged Chinese funding.
In a statement, the Department of Finance (DoF) said that the Philippine delegation will meet first with Chinese officials on Sept. 27 in Beijing, then will travel to Shanghai to seek investors for the government’s P8.4 trillion infrastructure program.
The delegation will be composed of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade. Public Works and Highways Secretary Secretary Mark A. Villar; Vivencio B. Dizon, Bases Conversion and Development Authority President; and Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea.
The same team will be coming from Tokyo before the Sept. 27 China meeting, where the economic and infrastructure managers will likewise review the progress on Japanese-funded projects and brief potential investors.
Projects funded by Chinese Official Development Assistance (ODA) include the P2.7 billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, the P10.86 billion New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project, and the P151.3 billion North-South Railway Project (NSRP) South Commuter Line.
China also backs two Pasig River bridges – the P4.607 billion Binondo-Intramuros and P1.376 billion Estrella-Pantaleon bridge.
President Xi Jinping pledged $9 billion worth of ODA during President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s visit in October. Mr. Duterte also obtained a $9 billion package from Japan when Prime Minsiter Shinzo Abe visited the Philippines in January.
The government’s infrastructure push is expected to drive overall growth to 7-8% by the end of Mr. Duterte’s term in mid-2022 from the 6.2% average over the past six years, slash unemployment to 3-5% by 2022 from 5.5% last year and cut the national poverty rate to 14% from 21.6% in 2015. – Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan