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Xi promises Duterte $148-million grant to PH

Chinese President Xi Jinping has assured visiting President Rodrigo Duterte that Beijing would give a grant of one billion yuan ($148 million) to the Philippines to further develop the country’s economy, Malacañang bared on Thursday.

Xi promises Duterte $148-million grant to PH
FOR POSTERITY. Visiting President Rodrigo Duterte and People’s Republic of China State Council Premier Li Keqiang seal their countries’ friendship before the start of their bilateral meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing on Thursday. Malacañang Photo
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the East Asian giant made the commitment during a bilateral meeting between the two leaders in Beijing.

“President Xi committed to provide one billion yuan grant to the Philippines,” Panelo said in a statement released late Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, the Philippines and China signed 19 signed business agreements on Friday amounting to $12.16 billion in investments that may generate at least 21,165 jobs for Filipinos at the sidelines of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in China.

The Philippine business delegation and their Chinese counterparts signed one contract agreement, three cooperation agreements, two purchase framework agreements, and 13 Memoranda of Agreement or Understanding. 

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez reported that majority of these projects were on energy, infrastructure, food, telecommunications, sale of agricultural products, tourism and economic zone and industrial park development.

“Among the agreements are energy projects that will help the country decrease its dependence on oil and gas imports. There will also be several industrial parks to bring jobs to Filipinos in the countryside,” Lopez said.

According to Panelo, China, with its ambitious infrastructure project “Belt and Road Initiative,” would provide more resources to Luzon and Mindanao to “spur regional economic growth.”

He said Xi would also help the country promote the Clark Green City in Pampanga through the building of an industrial park.

“According to him [Xi], the BRI will also play an important role in the Asean-China relations, where the Philippines plays an effective role as a country coordinator, and in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area [BIMP-EAGA] through increased cooperation,” Panelo said.

Aside from China’s commitments under the BRI, Xi also noted Beijing’s relations with Manila in terms of trade and employment.

“The Chinese President also mentioned that the first group of Filipino teachers may soon start teaching English in China,” Panelo continued.

“He also committed to continue donating rice and fingerlings and importing our local fruits,” he added.

For Panelo, the Philippine government considers the BRI as an “opportunity” to strengthen the Philippines-China ties.

“We consider the BRI, as articulated by PRRD, as another opportunity to renew and reaffirm our valued relationship, which we must continue to foster in the coming years with an aspiration that our fellow Filipinos will feel the true benefits of the PH-China relations,” he added.

The President is in China to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. 

He is also expected to deliver an arrival statement back in his hometown in Davao on Sunday. 

Aside from these agreements, AAC Technologies also expressed intent to expand its current operations in Philippines during a courtesy call with Lopez, investing $30 million to engage in stepper motor and motor reducer manufacturing and create about 3,000 jobs in the next three years.

Energy contracts involved the proposed 250MW South Pulangi Hydroelectric Power Plant Project in Damulog, Bukidnon to be developed by Pulangi Hydro Power Corp. and China Energy Co Ltd.

The project aims to improve power supply reliability and resilience in the country, particularly in Mindanao. 

It is valued at $800 million and will create 5,000 jobs.

Filipino conglomerate Tranzen Group entered a framework agreement with China Power Investment Holding for thermal, hydro, and renewable power plants, cumulatively valued at around $1.5 to 2 billion and is expected to create 1,000 jobs.

Another contract was the $1.5-billion petrochemical refinery complex project of Davao Occidental local government and Fengyuan Holdings located at the Tubalan Cove Business and Industrial Park. The project is estimated to need 500 workers.

As part of the long-term plan to reduce dependence on imported energy fuels, the Energy Department, Shanghai Electric Group Co Ltd, and Deluxe Family Co Ltd. signed a $40-million MOU to collaborate in the promotion of the use of indigenous, new, and renewable energy resources.

Tranzen likewise signed two MOUs for infrastructure and telecommunications projects with China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd for construction of the LRT in Manila, housing, and roads in North Luzon valued at $4 billion and the $500-million project of CITIC Guoan Information Technology to construct infrastructure for nationwide Wi-Fi Internet connectivity in various capital cities and towns in Philippines.

Both projects are expected to offer a thousand jobs each for Filipino workers.

There were also two companies that signed purchase framework agreements to supply agricultural products to Chinese companies. 

Philpack Corporation will supply $40 million worth of pineapples to Chinese company Goodfarmer Foods Holding Group, while Eng Seng Food Products will supply $36.5 million worth of green coconuts to China Artex Corporation. 

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority signed six MOUs with Chinese firms  that included a $150 million yacht club, a $500 million green textile industry park, a $500-million expansion of the Cagayan North International Airport, a $500 million fintech hub and financial center, $500-million smart city, and $150-million for various projects including a resort and theme park and lithium battery manufacturing plant.

The Pampanga local government and Chinese firm Macrolink Group also signed a $1.5-billion framework agreement to construct and develop the Yatai Industrial Park, estimated to create 10,000 jobs.

GFTG Property Holdings and Sanya CEDF Sino-Philippine Investment Corp. agreed to develop the Grande and Chiquita Islands with initial funding of $298 million. The project is set to open 500 to 1,000 jobs.

Lastly, Adnama Mining Resource Inc., Fu Properties Inc., and Xiamen C&D Incorporation signed an MOU to construct a $50-million iron processing plant in Agusan del Norte.

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Topics: Xi Jinping , Rodrigo Duterte , Salvador Panelo , 2nd Belt and Road Forum
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