DAVAO CITY – Government officials toured Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang around Davao City on Saturday, in a bid to woo investments for the city’s infrastructure projects.
Accompanied by officials from the Davao City government and the National Economic Development Authority, Yang visited the Sta. Ana Wharf and other sites such as the Davao City expressway project, coastal road, coastline and port development project, the Mindanao railway project, and the Francisco Bangoy International Airport.
According to Maria Lourdes Lim, the Regional Director of NEDA XI, the vice premier expressed interest in the projects that they presented.
"The ambassador of China will be coming back later this month in Davao and a mission will be sent by the vice premier next month. We [will] look into the details and the preparation of terms of reference and other exploratory activities in time for the visit of President Duterte to Beijing in May," said Lim.
She also said the projects are open to other investors aside from the Chinese government.
"These projects have either been had their feasibility studies completed so this means they're still up and can still be offered to investors either thru PPP (public private partnership) or official development assistance,” Lim said.
The PPP projects have been approved by the NEDA board, and are up for biddling.
“Five are still in the pipeline and are still being offered for investors," Lim said.
On Friday night, Yang met with President Rodrigo Duterte, and both sides reaffirmed the strong bilateral ties between the Philippines and China.
"Yang has been sent by the President of China to have a follow through activities as far as the Chinese government's commitment not only in Davao City but to the Philippine government. Yung pagpunta nya dito is talagang follow through and time-bounded activities.
“On March 24, the Ambassador of China will be coming here and the ambassador said they will be sending a fact-finding mission to look at all the projects. The Chinese government is really committed," said Davao City councilor Danilo Dayanghirang.
The Davao coastline and port development project will require reclamation of 202 hectares of land in Davao City’s coastal area, from Sta. Ana wharf towards the southern part of the city.
The project includes the construction of a commercial port with cargo handling equipment and information technology infrastructure.
Yang's visit comes amid new bids by the country to stake its claim on disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea.
On Friday, the vice premier signed a six-year development program to work together on trade and investment, part of Duterte's strategy to engage China as a buyer of local farm and fisheries produce and a builder and financier of its much-needed infrastructure.