DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua is hoping that the projects agreed by China and the Philippines to undertake will finish within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Speaking before the participants of a business forum here on Friday, Zhao said there would be a lot of challenges and uncertainties if the projects will go beyond Duterte’s term.
“There is a very strong sense of urgency as you all know the infrastructure projects they cannot be done overnight. They usually take several years to finish, given the fact that the presidential term is only six years, we must hurry,” he said.
“We have to get it done within the presidential term, because we are quite afraid of taking up projects that go beyond the presidential term because that would mean a lot of challenges and uncertainties,” Zhao said.
He said they hope Duterte can get “emergency power as soon as possible.”
Zhao said they are considering to give the Philippines a certain amount of grants to finance small sized infrastructure projects.
He said the Philippine government has proposed 40 infrastructure projects, 15 of which he said are ready to be financed while 25 will be supported by the Chinese government for feasibility studies.
Nine projects worth $1 billion were also submitted by the Philippine government for feasibility study including the three Agus 3 hydroelectric plant; Ambal-Simuay sub-basin of the Mindanao River basin flood control and river protection project; Camarines Sur expressway; Davao City expressway; Dinagat (Leyte)-Surigao link bridge; Luzon-Samar link bridge; North Luzon Expressway east project; Panay Guimaras-Negros Island bridges, and the Pasacao-Balatan tourism coastal development program.
The ambassador said three projects will break ground this year, including the $53.6-million Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in Cagayan and Kalinga province; the $3.01-billion south line of the North-South Railway and the $374.03-million New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa dam project in Quezon province.
But even with the fastracking of the projects, Zhao said they will ensure that the projects will be free from corruption.
“We are finalizing the guidelines to make sure that the projects will be done in a transparent, rule-based manner and will stand the test of time, so in another way, we’ll try our best to make sure these projects are corruption free,” he said.
The Chinese government is planning to build railway, highway, bridges and agricultural infrastructure in the country.
China is set to provide the country with $6-billion worth of soft loans and $3-billion credit line.
But Zhao said “in the coming years, the investment of loans, particularly in infrastructure is going to be greater,” he said.
Zhao said China is optimistic in the bilateral relationship with the Philippines not only this year “but in the years ahead.” (davaotoday.com)