BEIJING: A high-level delegation from the Philippines led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has arrived here for a series of meetings with Chinese officials to hammer out details of several proposed big-ticket projects that China has offered for funding, which include irrigation systems, power generation and railways.
“We submitted last November a list of projects to the Chinese government through the Chinese embassy in Manila for their review. The Philippine team would like to get their reactions and determine what their priorities are and see whether these also match our priorities,” Dominguez said in an interview with members of the Chinese media.
The top-level mission also aims to further enhance “the strong friendship and economic cooperation” between the Philippines and China, the Finance chief said.
“President Duterte told me to extend his best regards to the Chinese officials that we will be meeting here as well as to the people of China, who showered him with a warm welcome during his state visit here last year,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said the list of projects that they will present to Chinese officials during the two-day visit include irrigation systems, power generation, and railways.
“China has demonstrated that it is among the best in the world in executing big infra projects,” he said. “We hope that in our visit here, we would be able to proceed with the projects that are ready to be implemented,” Dominguez said.
He said the assistance offered by China to the Philippines is among the concrete results of the President’s foreign policy rebalancing towards accelerated integration with Asean and its major Asian trading partners China, Japan and South Korea.
“The President has recognized the importance of China in the region and he has redirected our economy more towards China and the Asean than to the West. I believe that China will continue to lead the world and continue to lead the Asean in becoming the engine of global growth,” Dominguez said.
While in Beijing, the Philippine officials are due to hold separate meetings with China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng, and National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) vice chairman Wang Xiaotao.
They also plan to meet top officials of China Investment Corp. (CIC).
The meetings will cover discussions on the government-to-government projects signed between the Philippines and China; the proposed projects for financing and feasibility studies; the chairmanship of the Philippines this year of the Asean; and matters concerning the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Philippines’ flagship infrastructure projects.
The Philippine team also includes Secretaries Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and Director General Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
NEDA deputy director general Rolando Tungpalan, DPWH Undersecretaries Emil Sadain and Karen Jimeno, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president-CEO Vivencio Dizon are also part of the delegation.
Joining them are DOF Assistant Secretaries Ma. Edita Tan and Mark Dennis Joven, DOTr Assistant Secretaries Leah Merida Quiambao and Cesar Chavez, and Assistant Secretary Julia Nebrija of the Metro Manila Development Authority.
Philippine and Chinese officials agreed in November last year in Manila to set up structures of coordination to effectively implement the investment pledges forged between Manila and Beijing during President Duterte’s state visit to China.
During President Duterte’s state visit to China, Dominguez signed three agreements on behalf of the Philippines, which were among the $24 billion-worth of aid and investment pledges that China had committed to the Philippines, comprising soft loans totaling $9 billion and other economic deals amounting to about $15 billion.