In a statement, the DOF said both countries have agreed during a meeting in Beijing last Aug. 22 to improve the processes involved to ensure the timely implementation of the projects.
Michael Varcas
Philippines commits to fast-track China-funded infrastructure projects
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - August 25, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Manila and Beijing have reaffirmed their commitment to speed up the preparation and rollout of the Duterte administration’s infrastructure projects which will be funded by China, according to the Department of Finance.

In a statement, the DOF said both countries have agreed during a meeting in Beijing last Aug. 22 to improve the processes involved to ensure the timely implementation of the projects.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez told China’s State Councilor and Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi that the preparation of the projects funded by China has, in fact, been “moving quite fast ahead,” particularly the south long-haul Manila-Bicol Railway and the Clark-Subic Railway projects.

Earlier, the finance department said there is a possibility that the P151.3-billion loan agreement between the Philippines and China for the north to south railway project spanning Manila to Legaspi City may be signed within the year.

The Philippine National Railways had also said the construction of the project may likely start next year.

The Clark-Subic Railway project has been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) last January.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the project may start construction next year, with P2.9 billion of its total allocation coming from revenues from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

For his part, Wang said during the meeting that bilateral relations between the Philippines and China have “vastly improved” under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte and President Xi Jinping.

“What is needed now are specific and concrete actions to move forward practical cooperation across-the-board. What I hope you and our other friends sitting here today will do, is to have more communication with your counterparts so that jointly, we can fully tap the potential of our cooperation,” Wang said.

“There are many works of cooperation to be advanced. I hope and I believe, through your current visit, we will reach even more consensus and cooperation between our two countries to deliver even greater benefits to the Chinese and Filipino people and make our respective contributions to regional peace and stability,” he said

Also present during the meeting were other members of the Philippine delegation, including Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Bases Conversion and Development Authority president Vivencio Dizon, and other senior government officials.

According to the DOF, net foreign direct investments from China for the January to May period surged by 534 percent compared to the end-2017 level.

The agency said total approved investments from China likewise grew by 57.14 percent over the previous year.

“Bilateral trade with China has also increased since 2017, with total trade between the two countries reaching $13.9 billion in the first half of 2018,” the DOF said.

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