Duterte nets billion dollar deals, aid from China

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 11 2018 10:38 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte delivering his message following the signing of agreements between Philippine and Chinese companies at the Golden Coast Hotel in Boao, People’s Republic of China on April 10, 2018. Richard Madelo, Presidential Photo

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will come home from China with billions in dollars worth of investment pledges and aid from the Chinese government and businesses there.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Chinese government pledged to give 500 million renminbi (about P4.1 billion) in economic assistance to the Philippines.

Roque made the announcement after the bilateral meeting between Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping, where the Filipino leader extended his gratitude for Beijing’s military assistance to Manila as the latter dealt with the Marawi siege last year.

Beijing donated some 3,000 rifles to the Philippine military and also pledged to help rebuild the southern city of Marawi, which was ravaged by 5 months of fighting between state troopers and Islamic State-inspired extremists.

Duterte also told Xi he would like the Philippines and China to have the “fullest cooperation” in battling transnational crimes and terrorism.

“China and the Philippines can do more to boost military and defense cooperation under the framework of the 2004 Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation,” he said.

Duterte also witnessed the signing of letters of intent by Chinese companies eyeing to invest in the Philippines.

The pledges, which were made by Chinese firms involved in land reclamation, energy, agriculture, tourism, pharmaceuticals, and construction, can generate over $9 billion in new investments and create about 10,800 jobs for Filipinos.

In his speech during the signing of the letters of intent, Duterte promised a better business environment for prospective foreign investors.

“I hope for a more robust and healthy balance of trade in the coming years as the Philippines and China continue to enhance and increase trade links,” Duterte said.

“I acknowledge the job opportunities that will be created by Chinese investments now and in the years to come and their role in promoting inclusive growth, of encouraging entrepreneurship among the Filipinos.”

The Philippine and Chinese governments also signed six bilateral agreements.

The agreements involve economic and technical cooperation, the establishment of the third phase of the Filipino-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology, and the pre-feasibility study of the proposed expressway in Duterte’s home city of Davao.

Also signed were the exchange of letters for broadcasting equipment for the Presidential Communications Operations Office, loan agreement for the Chico River pump irrigation project, and memorandum of understanding on the employment of Filipino teachers of the English language in China.