MANILA - Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian hailed the improved relations between the Philippines and China in the past 6 years and said he hopes this will be sustained after President Rodrigo Duterte steps down.
In a photo exhibit attended by Senators Imee Marcos and Cynthia Villar, Huang thanked Pres. Duterte for promoting closer ties between the two countries.
Public Works Secretary Roger Mercado and other government officials also graced the event held in Binondo.
Huang said the event, which was organized by the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc, will show the projects of China in the Philippines and showcase the relations between the two nations over the past 6 years.
"The landmark China-gifted Binondo-Intramuros Bridge, benefiting tens of thousands of people every day, has already become a tourist attraction. During the past 6 years, our trade has doubled and the total Chinese investments in this country have quadrupled in the past 6 years, compared with the previous 6 years," the Chinese envoy said.
The Chinese ambassador also paid his respects to the late Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana who passed away this week.
"We shall not forget our common friend His Excellency Chito Sta Romana... who has made [a] great contribution to our relations and to our cooperation."
The ambassador also mentioned the controversial issue on the West Philippine Sea saying that the two nations have handled their differences in a proper manner.
"We have been committed to managing differences through bilateral communication and dialogue. We have handled a series of maritime-related incidents prudently and conducted consultations on the joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea."
In 2016, Duterte said Chinese President Xi Jinping promised investments and loan pledges to the Philippines worth $24 billion.
Last year however, Bloomberg reported that China had yet to deliver on these billions despite Duterte's pursuit of closer relations. Most big-ticket projects funded by China had yet to break ground or get approval either, Bloomberg reported.
In a report released last year, the National Economic and Development Authority also noted that of the total official development assistance as of 2020, Japan remained the top provider of ODA with $11.18 billion or 36.44 percent worth of loans and grants.
In second place was the Japan-led Asian Development Bank with $8.7 billion or 28.52 percent, and in third place the World Bank with $6.44 billion or 20.97 percent.
The Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was a far fourth with ODA amounting to $957.6 or 3.12 percent of the total.
Critics of Duterte have said that the Philippines has received little in terms of promised aid despite the President's pursuit of closer ties with the Asian giant.
- With a report from Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News