By Chino S. Leyco
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III has cited the significant progress made in the implementation of Philippine infrastructure projects funded with concessional loans from China.
In a courtesy visit to People’s Republic of China Vice President Wang Qishan in Beijing, Dominguez provided updates on the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure projects that are being implemented by the Duterte administration with funding support from China.
These include two bridge projects that will help ease traffic in Metro Manila — the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridges being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) — and that are being funded with a 397 million renminbi ($63.13 million) grant from China.
Dominguez also thanked China for providing concessional loan financing for the Chico river pump irrigation project and the New Centennial water source-Kaliwa Dam project.
China has extended a $62.09-million loan for the Chico river irrigation project and a $211.21-million loan for the construction of the Kaliwa Dam.
“We have been meeting with the Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM) for the past two years, and we have made a lot of progress with our actual official development assistance relations with China,” Dominguez said during the meeting.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. led the official delegation during the courtesy visit to Vice President Wang.
Also in the meeting were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea; DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, Officer-in-Charge Budget Secretary Janet Abuel, Socioeconomic Planning Undersecretary Jonathan Uy; and Vivencio Dizon, president-CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
Dominguez said the Philippines and China are also working towards beginning the implementation of two rail projects — the Subic-Clark Railway Project in Luzon and the Mindanao Railway Project.
The Davao-Samal Bridge Project in Mindanao and the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Interisland Bridge Project in Western Visayas are also two other projects in the pipeline for possible Chinese financing, Dominguez said.
“We want to assure you that the funds provided by the Chinese people through the Chinese government are going to be used to the benefit of the Filipino people,” Dominguez said.
In separate meetings, Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven led the Philippine delegation in discussing with officials of the Export-Import Bank of China(China-EXIM) and the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) the status of additional “Build, Build, Build” projects proposed for Chinese financing.
In the meeting at China-EXIM’s headquarters with officials led by its president Zhang Xingsong, Joven said “both sides discussed the updates of ongoing projects, as well as those in the pipeline. The Chinese side also conveyed its continuing commitment to support the infrastructure projects of the Philippines, including its openness to provide available sources of financing for other projects.”
Also at the meeting were representatives from the DBM and BCDA.
Joven and representatives from NEDA, DBM, BCDA and DPWH also met separately with CIDCA Chairman Wang Xiaotao to discuss “the general arrangements in project financing and ways on how to expedite the processing of projects for Chinese financing.”