Filipino and Chinese officials are scheduled to meet in Beijing this week to address the issues and challenges in the financing of several ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure projects in the Philippines.
The Finance Department said in a statement over the weekend the meeting on Aug. 22 to 24 would tackle updates on the progress of the “first basket” of projects for Chinese loan financing.
These projects include the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project, the Philippine National Railways’ South Long Haul Project and the Davao-Samal Bridge Construction Project.
Other projects in the pipeline are the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon bridges that are being funded with Chinese grants.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III will lead the Philippine delegation that also includes Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Eonomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and Bases Conversion and Development Authority president and chief executive Vivencio Dizon.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano is also expected to join the Philippine delegation.
Dominguez and the other members of the delegation will meet China’s State Councilor and Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan; China International Development Cooperation Agency director Wang Xiaotao, chairperson Export-Import Bank of China and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank president Jin Liqun.
The delegation will also pay a courtesy call on Vice Premier of Economic Cooperation Hu Chunhua.
“The meetings will focus on strengthening and enhancing our bilateral engagement and cooperation. We express the hope that a number of bilateral documents would be presented and signed during the meeting, among them the exchange of letters for the feasibility study of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Inter-Island Bridges Project,” the Finance Department said.
Officials will also discuss the projects under the “second basket” including the Ambal-Simuay River and Rio Grande de Mindanao River Flood Control Projects, Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway Bridges Construction Project, Subic-Clark Railway Project, Safe Philippines Project Phase I and the Rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric Power Plants Project.
The groundbreaking ceremony of the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon bridges across the Pasig River was heldon July 17.
Both bridges are expected to ease traffic in Manila’s heavily congested areas where major business and commercial hubs thrive.
Dominguez and Chinese officials signed a $62 million loan agreement in Hainan, China in April this year to help fund the construction of the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project and a separate accord on economic and technical cooperation providing for a $79-million grant for at least four other projects.
The $62.09-million (about P3.135 billion) loan agreement on the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, which will be implemented by the National Irrigation Administration, covers 85 percent of the total contract amount of $73.04 million (aP3.689 billion). The total project cost of the is $86.57 million (P4.372 billion).
The National Economic and Development Authority said the irrigation project would provide a stable supply of water to 8,700 hectares of agricultural land, benefit 4,350 farmers and their families and serve 21 barangays in the provinces of Cagayan and Kalinga in Northern Luzon.
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