THE Philippine government assured China on the speedy rollout of grant-funded projects during their meeting in Beijing this week, with the focus on two major railways in Luzon.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said work on projects to be implemented by the Philippines in cooperation with China “have already been moving quite fast ahead.”
“Our visit to Beijing was extremely productive. We are confident we can henceforth move forward at a faster pace on the projects we are implementing in cooperation with China,” Mr. Dominguez said on Twitter on Thursday night.
Mr. Dominguez led the Philippine delegation composed of Cabinet secretaries for high-level meetings with Chinese officials from Aug. 22-24.
In a statement sent on Friday, Mr. Dominguez said Manila has affirmed its commitment to fast-track the implementation of projects funded via official development assistance before China’s State Councilor and Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi.
In particular, the Finance chief said the South Long Haul Manila-Bicol Railway and the Clark-Subic Railway projects have been moving rapidly, in line with the Philippine government’s push to accelerate infrastructure spending.
The loan has been signed for the P4.37-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, with an interest rate of two percent per annum with a maturity period of 20 years with a seven-year grace period. Work on the project started last month as carried out by China CAMC Engineering Co. Ltd.
A P4.13-billion grant has also been forged between Manila and Beijing for the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon bridges which are now under construction.
Officials from the two countries met to discuss progress on the set of China-funded projects. Included in the “first basket” of projects up for funding are the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project, and the Davao-Samal Bridge Construction Project.
Others on the “second basket” of public works to be financed by China loans are the Ambal-Simuay River and Rio Grande de Mindanao River Flood Control Projects, Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway Bridges Construction Project, Safe Philippines Project Phase 1, and the Rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric Power Plants Project.
Chinese money will also support the Davao City Expressway Project, the provision of radio and broadcasting equipment to the Presidential Communications Operations Office, and the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology-Technical Cooperation Program Phase 3.
Mr. Dominguez said the two countries have grown “very close” since the Duterte administration reopened the Philippines’ ties with China. Beijing’s Minister Wang also noted that bilateral ties “entered a fast track of development” under this government.
Other officials who took part in the discussions were Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar; Vivencio B. Dizon, president and chief executive officer of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano and Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez