China funding pledges to PH top P7B – DoF

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The Chinese government has so far committed a combined $7.34 billion in soft loans and grants to the Philippines, the Finance department said

In a statement on Tuesday, the department said the funding commitment would be used to implement 10 big-ticket projects, construct two bridges in Metro Manila and two drug rehabilitation facilities in Mindanao, and rehabilitate war-torn Marawi City.

Finance department data showed that loans committed by Beijing now total $7.19 billion for infrastructure, energy and public safety projects while grants amount to $148.22 million.

Of the $7.19 billion, about $ 3.98 billion—representing the estimated total funding requirement of a second project basket under various stages of preparation—still needs further discussions.

The Finance department stressed that the amounts were only estimates and would be finalized once the loans are process.

According to the department’s International Finance Group (IFG), the assumed loan amount pledged by China accounted for 85 percent of the total cost of 10 major government projects.

These cover soft loans under the first basket that includes $234.92 million for the Kaliwa-New Centennial Water Source in Quezon province, $72.49 million for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in North Luzon and the $2.91-billion Philippine National Railways South Long Haul Railway for a total estimated loan amount of $3.21 billion.

For the second basket of projects, the Philippines and China agreed to line up an estimated $3.98 billion in loans thatcould include $947.64 million for the Subic-Clark Railway and $424.81 million for the Davao City Expressway, which are still undergoing feasibility studies.

The IFG said agreements for several of these projects would be signed by officials of the two governments during bilateral meetings to be held at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) +3 (China, Japan, Korea) Summit this week.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who is representing Chinese President Xi Jinping, is expected to witness the signing of the bilateral agreements.

Aside from the loans, China has also provided a total of $148.22 million in grants of which $99.27 million will be used for the construction of the Binondo-Intramuros bridge and the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge across the Pasig River to help ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

The grant, which covers 100 percent of the total cost for the projects, also includes $22.95 million for the construction of two drug rehabilitation facilities; $23 million to aid in Marawi’s rehabilitation program, and donation of heavy equipment worth $3 million also for the government’s reconstruction efforts in Marawi, the IFG said.

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