Phl seeks China aid to fund studies of key infra projects
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - September 4, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Philippine government has asked China to fund the feasibility studies of key infrastructure projects including the proposed link bridges for Bohol-Leyte, Cebu-Bohol and Negros-Cebu Link.

According to the Department of Finance, the government had submitted to China's new aid agency an indicative list of 12 big-ticket infrastructure projects that will undergo feasibility studies with possible Chinese grant financing.

In a statement, DOF also announced the Philippines and China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) recently sealed an agreement that Beijing will provide a $13.4-million grant to fund the feasibility study of the proposed bridge project that will link the islands of Panay, Guimaras and Negros in the Visayas region.

The exchange of letters for the bridge project was signed by CIDCA chairman Wang Xiaotao and Public Works secretary Mark Villar during their recent meeting at the CIDCA headquarters in Beijing.

The Philippine government had also met with Export-Import Bank of China (China EXIM) chair Hu Xiaolin to further discuss loan financing and co-financing arrangements for the country's infrastructure projects, DOF said.

CIDCA is China’s new agency responsible for administering foreign aid and development assistance to other countries. CIDCA was among the reforms unveiled by China during its National People’s Congress last March.

The proposed link bridges are among the infrastructure flagship projects identified by the Regional Development Plan.  The connectivity of these islands through bridges is seen to increase economic activity, enhance access to resources and opportunities, create agglomeration, reduce cost of moving goods and services and contribute to inclusive growth.

CV's Regional Development Plan for 2017-2022 aims to integrate and interconnect the provincial economies into a region wide network of production, processing, marketing, and trading.

“Priority shall be given to the upgrading and proper maintenance of the arterial (circumferential and north-south backbone) road network, east-west or cross-country arteries, and main roads leading to special economic zones, industrial centers, major agricultural areas, major tourism areas, major ports and airport,” the RDP read.

The Central Visayas region logged the fastest growth for the past six years at a gross regional domestic product (GDRP) at 7.5 percent, followed by 7.4 percent in Caraga and the Davao region, Central Luzon’s 7.2 percent and National Capital Region’s 6.6 percent. (FREEMAN)

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