PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is seeking China’s help to improve his country’s dilapidated infrastructure when he met with the officials of the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) Ltd. on Wednesday.
Duterte received the CCCC officials in a courtesy call in Malacanang, where he thanked the company for pursuing projects in the Philippines.
“We’re happy that you have come to pass by to talk about anything and everything. So we’re hopeful that talks now could produce results for the good and our welfare also,” the President said.
“We are very happy that you have come here to express your desire to help the Philippines… I must say that we need really the help of China in infrastructure as nothing seems to be moving here at a fast rate because of the traffic and lack of viable infrastructure,” he added.
The Duterte administration introduced the “build, build, build” initiative during the Dutertenomics forum in Manila.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in April that the Duterte administration planned to roll out more than P3.6 trillion in public infrastructure projects from 2018 to 2020, promising “game-changing” projects that would roll out and be completed before the end of the administration.
In total, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said P8.4 trillion would be spent on infrastructure during the six-year term of President Duterte, increasing the share of infrastructure spending in the gross domestic product from 5.4 percent this year to 7.4 percent in 2022.
Unlike his predecessor Benigno Aquino 3rd, Duterte has taken a more conciliatory approach with China since taking office, focusing on economic cooperation and putting aside the two countries’ maritime dispute in the South China Sea.
Last October, President Duterte brought home $24 billion worth of investment commitments and loans, a bulk of which was attributed to pledges made by the private sector. CATHERINE S. VALENTE