MANILA – Officials of the Philippines and China agree that amid the countries’ differences there remains a scope to strengthen tie-ups on trade and tourism.
Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III said this is the reason for the increase in the number of infrastructure projects that China is financing under the Duterte administration.
“I believe that China and the Philippine leadership have come to the realization that despite the unresolved issues between us, there is much room for expanded trade, tourism cooperation,” he said.
The Duterte administration has been questioned the rise in the number of infrastructure projects that China is financing, with some claiming that the government is falling into a debt trap.
However, Dominguez earlier said terms of the loans extended by China to the current government are “at least 30 percent better” than those under previous administrations.
“The terms of the loan obtained by the Duterte Administration are at least 30 percent better than the loan secured by the Arroyo Administration and wholeheartedly accepted by the Aquino administration,” he said.
One of the projects that is now being scrutinized is the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project, which will be constructed in the village of Pagsangahan in General Nakar and the village of Magsaysay in Infanta, both in Quezon province.
Officials of both countries exchanged documents for the USD211.21-million project in November 2018 during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Philippines.
Dominguez explained that DOF’s International Finance Group (IFG) has found out that the loan for the Kaliwa dam project has an annual rate of two percent, lower than the three percent per annum rate that the Arroyo administration secured for the USD116.6 million loan for the Angat Water Utilization and Aqueduct Improvement Project Phase II. (PNA)