Talks over infrastructure projects ongoing, Chinese Embassy says

Talks over infrastructure projects ongoing, Chinese Embassy says
Buildings are seen along EDSA in Quezon City before dawn, Sunday (July 3, 2022).
Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — China maintained that it is still negotiating with the Philippines over funding for some infrastructure projects after reports that these were considered cancelled surfaced over the weekend.

"Our two sides have been negotiating technical issues and made progressive progress to move the projects forward," the Chinese embassy in Manila said in a statement sent to reporters on Sunday.

Beijing also said that it wil "tap its own advantage and support the Philippines to improve its infrastructure." 

China has so far helped the Philippines complete 17 of its infrastructure projects and over 20 are still in the pipeline.

"China is open for technical discussions over our government-to-government projects, and is ready to carry our cooperation forward, in close communication with the Philippine new administration."

Reports of the canceled Chinese funding for three railway projects — P50-billion Subic-Clark Railway Project, P83-billion Mindanao Railway Phase 1, and P142-billion Philippine National Railways Bicol Package 1 — surfaced over the weekend.

The Philippines’ application for funding with Beijing were terminated after former Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III noted that China wanted to charge an interest rate of 3%. 

Transport Undersecretary Cesar Chavez noted that the government asked China for a lower rate due to the more competitive offer of Japan at a 0.1% interest rate.

READ: China wants 3% interest on Philippines railway projects loan 

Instead of going through the same foreign funding route as former President Rodrigo Duterte, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has opted to seek only Official Development Assistance programs and Public-private Partnerships for its projects. — Kaycee Valmonte with a report from The STAR / Elijah Felice Rosales




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