PH eyes Chinese aid to build Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao bridges


Posted at Dec 13 2017 11:28 AM | Updated as of Dec 13 2017 12:25 PM

The 26-mile Jiaozhou Bay bridge, which was built over the course of four years for $1.5 billion, links China's eastern port city of Qingdao to an offshore island, Huangdao. Reuters

MANILA - The Philippine government is eyeing help from China in building bridges and a railway system that will connect the country's three main islands.

Speaking to radio DZMM, Speaker Panteleon Alvarez said he already discussed possible fund sources with Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang in a bilateral talk during the recent ASEAN Summit.

"The longest bridge sa mundo ay ginawa ng China -- that is connecting Macau and Hong Kong, that is about 55 kilometers at nagawa nila 'yan in 4 years," he said Wednesday.

The lawmaker said he has proposed that the administration build two bridges: one connecting Matnog, Bicol and Allen, Samar; and another connecting San Ricardo, Southern Leyte and Surigao City.

This picture taken on December 28, 2016 shows the Beipanjiang Bridge, near Bijie in southwest China's Guizhou province. The world's highest bridge has opened to traffic in China, connecting two southwestern provinces and reducing travel time by three quarters, local authorities said on December 30. AFP

Alvarez said the railway could be put alongside or in between the two lanes of these two bridges. The bridges are expected to boost inter-island trade, he said.

Funds, he said, could be sourced from loans, especially now that the Philippine government has been offered loans with very low interest rates as a result of its foreign policy.

"Dahil maganda yung nagiging foreign policy ng Pangulo, nabibigyan tayo ng napakababang interest rate. Halimbawa sa Japan, 0.01% po ang interest ng long-term loan," he said.

"Ang China naman, medyo humahabol din. Gumagawa sila ng mas magandang package.... 'Yun ay pinag-uusapan na ngayon between China and mga representatives ng ating bansa," he added.