China grants ₱3B to PH to support infra, other development projects

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 16) — China has granted the Philippines ¥500 million, or around ₱3.72 billion, to support the implementation of the government’s infrastructure projects and other development programs.

In a statement, the Department of Finance said Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven and Deng Boqing, vice chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency, signed the agreement for the funding, adding that it intends to support infrastructure and livelihood programs, as well as feasibility studies to be mutually agreed upon by both parties.

“Subject to further discussions between our two governments and depending on the requirements, this may possibly include support for COVID-19 related activities and response measures,” Joven said.

The signing was witnessed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin, Jr. and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was visiting the country as part of his five-day tour in Southeast Asia.

The latest development brings the total number of China grants to the country to seven under the current administration, with a total value of ¥3.25 billion, or around ₱23 billion.

Among the projects being funded by the earlier agreements are the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon bridges, the reconstruction of Marawi City, and the procurement of container inspection equipment for the Bureau of Customs.

Meanwhile, the Palace said that during Wang’s courtesy call in Malacañang, President Rodrigo Duterte stressed the need for stronger cooperation when it comes to public health between the two countries to accelerate economic recovery amid the global health crisis.

“The recovery of nations…sits on the back of stronger economies. China plays a very key role in reviving our region’s economy. Let us do all we can to revive economic activities between the Philippines and China,” Duterte was quoted in a statement.

For his part, Wang reaffirmed his commitment to support the Philippines in its fight against COVID-19 and its recovery through enhanced economic cooperation. He earlier announced that China will donate 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the country.

The official also committed that all China-funded infrastructure projects will be completed, noting that the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project and the Subic-Clark Railway Project agreements will be finalized this week.