Key meetings set in Beijing to nail down infrastructure funding

Font Size

Salvador C. Medialdea

OFFICIALS are set to meet with the Chinese government this week to discuss infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program.

In a statement on Monday, the Department of Finance (DoF) said meetings between officials from China and the Philippines are scheduled this week in Beijing.

The Philippine delegation led by Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea will meet officials of China’s Ministry of Commerce today to “firm up possible new agreements on infrastructure cooperation between the two countries.”

The delegation will also meet with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.

Meanwhile, other Philippine delegates are set to meet with officials of the Export-Import Bank of China, as well as China International Development Cooperation Agency, the office in charge of China’s foreign aid projects.

A Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) will be conducted in Beijing on March 20 to discuss the country’s macroeconomic developments and opportunities with potential investors.

Last week, National Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon said the PEB will be followed by non-deal roadshows in Nanjing, Fuzhou, Suzhou and Xiamen.

The DoF has not provided further details regarding the meetings, but Ms. De Leon, who will be in China for the PEB, said the “high-level” talks will be attended by government officials in charge of the Build, Build, Build program.

Officials are set to meet with their Chinese counterparts this week amid the water crisis and public opposition to the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project.

On Friday, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III rejected claims that high interest rates are attached to Chinese loans that will fund infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program.

Mr. Dominguez said the Kaliwa Dam project is funded by a $211 million loan from China at an interest rate of 2% per annum. The loan obtained by the administration of former President Gloria M. Arroyo for the Angat Water Utilization and Aqueduct Improvement Project Phase II worth $116.6 million had a 3% interest rate

The loan accord for the Kaliwa Dam project was signed on Nov. 20. Kaliwa Dam is meant to be a medium-term water source for Metro Manila, complementing the current main source, Angat Dam, which supplies about 96% of the Philippine capital’s requirements. Kaliwa is expected to add 600 million liters per day (MLD) to augment the 4,000 MLD from Angat. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal