President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday talked about the Philippines' ambitious plan to spend about P8 trillion (about $160 billion) to improve the country’s infrastructure in a two-day summit in China aimed at helping countries accelerate economic growth through infrastructure building.
Duterte was in Beijing for three days to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which focuses on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy project aimed at reviving the ancient Silk Road trading route through infrastructure building across Asia, Europe and Africa.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said Duterte introduced the “Build, Build, Build” program, the cornerstone of the president’s main economic blueprint dubbed as “Dutertenomics”, during the first session of the leaders’ roundtable talks.
Duterte believes that the country’s impoverished regions could raise themselves out of poverty if the national government develops infrastructure that would allow increased economic activities.
The DFA said that during the first roundtable talks, Duterte “stressed the administration's commitment to finding a path that prioritizes inclusive growth for those that need growth most in the Philippines.”
It also quoted the president as saying that improved infrastructure would “connect people, create jobs and bring down the cost of doing business.”
Improved connectivity in the archipelago would result in a modernized agriculture sector, under which farmers, producers and manufacturers can have more efficient and cost-effective access to internal and external markets, the president said.
‘CLEAN AND GREEN’ INFRA
During the second roundtable talks, Duterte spoke of infrastructure that is “clean and green,” acknowledging the potential environmental destruction that industrialization could bring to the Philippines.
“Describing green and sustainable designs as able to minimize or prevent the adverse impact on natural ecosystems, President Duterte said that sustainability of infrastructure can guarantee quality of life and support human welfare and well-being,” the DFA said.
“He extolled the use of traditional practices and processes that have proven to be environmentally friendly. He stressed the need for financing and the institutionalization of innovations and learnings to create a legacy for future generations.”