Philippines eyes integration of BBB with China’s B&R Initiative

Mary Grace Padin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The government wants to explore opportunities that would enable it to integrate its Build Build Build infrastructure buildup program with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).

In a statement, the DOF said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, during a meeting with a Chinese delegation led by Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua, underscored the Philippines’ strong interest in participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Dominguez said this would help accelerate the implementation of the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure projects, “while at the same time bolstering our position in the global value chain.”

Earlier, the finance chief said the Philippines stands to benefit from the One Belt, One Road Initiative as it would dovetail with the Duterte administration’s infrastructure buildup plan.

He said it would also open new markets for Philippine products, as the initiative aims to improve connectivity across Asia and Europe.

Dominguez said it would also benefit the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as he expects it to be a major catalyst for international collaboration.

Meanwhile, the DOF said Dominguez and Hu, during their meeting, also exchanged views on how to further enhance trade relations and speed up the implementation of Philippine infrastructure projects with funding support from China.

The DOF said they also discussed the Philippines’ participation in the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement and the upcoming Chinese International Import Expo in Shanghai in November.

After the meeting, both sides signed and exchanged documents for two bilateral agreements covering the rehabilitation of Marawi City and the exportation of avocado from the Philippines to China.

The DOF said four handover certificates were also exchanged between Philippine and Chinese officials.

Since the start of the Duterte administration, Manila and Beijing have so far signed three loan agreements amounting to $493.08 million, according to the DOF.

These include the $62.09 million loan accord for the Chico River Pump Irrigation project, $211.21 million assistance for the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam project and the $219.78 million loan for the project management consultancy of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) South Long Haul project.

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