BEIJING — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday said the Philippines received about $22 billion worth of investment pledges after his 48-hour state visit to China.
These are investments from new and existing Chinese-owned businesses in the Philippines, Marcos said in a press conference here.
“The pledges amount to about $22 billion… These are pledges that are already backed up already by concrete actions in the Philippines,” he said.
“Nagbubukas na sila ng opisina, kumukuha na sila ng mga permit. Yung mga nakakuha na ng permit nag-uumpisa na sila ng construction,” he said.
He added that the government has also been trying to convince more businesses involved in the processing of minerals, battery production and electric vehicle manufacturing to come to the Philippines. Marcos said the government is studying giving concessions to these firms.
“It is important for the Philippines na maipasok natin ang ganoong klaseng industriya because that is the green economy,” he said.
The Chinese investment pledges are expected to generate thousands of jobs for Filipinos, Marcos said.
“That will be starting very soon. Let’s watch and wait because some of the estimates are a little optimistic so I don’t want to put new job numbers,” he said.
Aside from generating jobs, the incoming investments are also expected to help Filipinos gain more skills through training and transfers of knowledge that would be provided by these employers, he said.
During his state visit, Marcos repeatedly said that his administration seeks to forge closer ties with Asia’s largest economy on multiple fronts.
“Ipinakita natin sa mga present and potential Chinese investors… Ang sinasabi natin sa kanila ay palakihin na ang involvement nila sa Pilipinas,” the President said.
“Maganda ngayon ang investment climate sa Pilipinas. Marami tayong opportunity na puwedeng magpartner… kung ano man sa kanilang palagay ang pinaka bagay sa kanilang operation,” he said.
Aside from investment pledges, the Philippines also received some 1.5 billion renminbi (around $220 million or P12.2 billion) in grants for the construction of several bridges in the country.
Marcos' predecessor, former President Rodrigo Duterte, also boasted about bringing home $24 billion in investment pledges during his state visit to China in 2016.
But years later only a small fraction of the pledged investments and loans had been delivered.
In 2020, Duterte’s own Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said China was “slow” in providing funding for the country’s infrastructure projects.
The National Economic and Development Authority said that as of August 2020, or 4 years after Duterte’s China visit, the country had received only P5.9 billion for the Binondo-Intramurous and Estrella-Pantaleon bridges, P1 billion for the rehabilitation of conflict-stricken Marawi City, P4.4 billion for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, and P12 billion for the New Centennial Water Source Kaliwa Dam.
In July this year, the Department of Transportation said the construction of several China-backed railway projects under the "Build, Build, Build" program could not move forward because they have yet to be funded.