China infra firms to pass through clearing process

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Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia on Friday assured that there would be “clearing mechanisms” for Chinese companies looking to participate in the Duterte administration’s infrastructure program.

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“On the China side, they have to clear the companies to bid for the project and they have to give us trustworthy candidates, those with good reputation,” Pernia said in an economic forum organized by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines.

“And for our side, the ICC (Investment Coordination Committee) will serve as a screening process for us to be able to pick the one to undertake the project,” he added.

Pernia said that hiring workers from China for China-financed infrastructure projects in the country would depends on agreements sealed.

“Well, it depends on the agreement. But I think in projects in countries in Asia, they have brought some labor. I don’t know for technical skills level, but definitely Filipino workers will also participate,” he said.

“We really need to try to lure our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) because there will be a lot of employment for them available especially starting next year when many of these flagship projects will be breaking ground.”

Pernia said the country had not signed yet any project for China financing, except for two bridges involving grants.

He added that financing from China carried a 2-percent interest rate per year, while the grace period is similar to most official development assistance which is 10 to 15 years.

The country has identified a list of 15 projects for Chinese financing that are estimated to cost $6.96 billion.

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