Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping, before the meeting at the Great Hall of People in Beijing, China on April 25, 2019. — REUTERS

THE Philippine business delegation and Chinese companies on Friday signed 19 deals worth $12.165 billion, according to Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte witnessed the exchange of 19 signed business agreements with Chinese firms, amounting to$12.165 billion in investments/trade leading to a projected employment of 21,165 jobs, on April 26 at the sidelines of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in China,” the Department of Trade and Idustry (DTI) said in a statement.

This included one contract agreement, three cooperation agreements, two purchase framework agreements, and 13 Memoranda of Agreement (MoA) or Understanding (MoU).

Mr. Lopez said majority of the projects involve energy, infrastructure, food, telecommunications, sale of agricultural products, tourism, and economic zone and industrial park development.

“The Duterte administration is pushing for investments on energy and manufacturing for the Philippines to broaden its manufacturing base and increase its exports. Among the agreements are energy projects that will help the country decrease its dependence on oil and gas imports. There will also be several industrial parks to bring jobs to Filipinos in the countryside,” Mr. Lopez said.

A Chinese company AAC Technologies is looking to invest $30 million to expand its operations in the Philippines, Mr. Lopez said. He said the company wants to go into stepper motor and motor reducer manufacturing, which will generate 3,000 jobs in three years.

The DTI said Pulangi Hydro Power Corporation and China Energy Co Ltd signed a contract agreement for the proposed 250 megawatt (MW) South Pulangi Hydroelectric Power Plant Project in Damulog, Bukidnon.

“The project… aims to improve power supply reliability and resilience in the country, particularly in Mindanao. It is valued at $800 million and will create 5,000 jobs,” the department said.

Filipino conglomerate Tranzen Group entered a framework agreement with China Power Investment Holding for the development of thermal, hydro, and renewable power plants with a total value of $1.5-$2 billion.

Tranzen also entered into an MoU with China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd for the construction of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Manila, housing, and roads in North Luzon — projects with a combined value of $4 billion.

The Filipino company also inked an MoU with CITIC Guoan Information Technology for a $500 million project that involves building infrastructure for Internet WiFi around the country.

The local government of Davao Occidental and Fengyuan Holdings inked a MoU for the establishment of a $1.5 billion petrochemical refinery processing plant complex within the the Tubalan Cove Business and Industrial Park.

The Department of Energy, Shanghai Electric Group Co Ltd, and Deluxe Family Co Ltd also signed a $40 million MoU on the promotion of the use of indigenous, new, and renewable energy resources.”

The DTI said two Philippine companies sealed deals to supply agricultural products to Chinese companies.

Philpack Corporation will supply $40 million worth of pineapples to Goodfarmer Foods Holding Group, while Eng Seng Food Products will supply $36.5 million worth of green coconuts to China Artex Corporation.

At the same time, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) inked six MoUs with Chinese firms that will develop among others, a $150 million yacht club, a $500 million green textile industry park, a $500 million expansion of the Cagayan North International Airport, a $100 million financial technology hub and financial center, a $500 million “smart” city, as well as a resort, theme park and lithium battery manufacturing plant worth a combined $150 million.

The Pampanga provincial government entered into a $1.5 billion framework agreement with Macrolink Group that will develop Yatai Industrial Park.

GFTG Property Holdings and Sanya CEDF Sino-Philippine Investment Corporation forged an agreement for a $298 million project to develop Grande and Chiquita Islands under the Subic Bay Matropolitan Authority.

Adnama Mining Resource, Inc., Fu Properties Inc, and Xiamen C&D Incorporation also signed an MoU for a $50 million iron processing plant in Agusan Del Norte.

In his speech during the first session of the high-level meeting at the Belt and Road Forum on Friday, Mr. Duterte said: “I reaffirm my country’s commitment to the collective vision of common prosperity through cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and as equal sovereign states.”

“In pursuing connectivity, we should not merely build roads and bridges but we should also create human connections. It is through these connections that we facilitate grand exchanges of skills, ideas, and experience. It is also through linkages that we forge and build trust and understanding,” he added.

“We must remember: Development assistance must be used as a genuine tool to bring about positive change in the lives of our peoples. And it must be a purposive decision of partner-states, taking into account mutual respect and mutual interests,” the President said further. — ALB