China pledges $9B in aid, loans to Philippines: finance chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 02 2016 12:57 PM

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 20, 2016. Thomas Peter, Reuters

MANILA – China has pledged $6 billion in official development assistance and $3 billion in loans to the Philippines, which President Rodrigo Duterte will use to spur infrastructure development in the countryside, his finance minister said Wednesday.

The projects that may be funded with Chinese aid include a P200-billion railway from the capital, Manila, to the Bicol region and a large irrigation project in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said.

“Our projects will be aimed outside the greater Manila area because we want to create jobs for people there, good jobs so we can reduce poverty,” he told reporters.

Improving road networks from the provinces to Metro Manila will improve the flow of trade, he said.

Dominguez said the Investment Coordinating Committee of the National Economic Development Authority was tasked to coordinate with its Chinese counterpart to discuss the aid pledges.

Duterte was on a four-day state visit to China earlier this month, where he sought to repair ties that were strained by disputes in the South China Sea. He also secured $24 billion in investment pledges from Chinese companies.