By Chino S. Leyco
Manila and Beijing have affirmed their commitment to speed up the preparation and processes needed to ensure the timely implementation of the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure projects with financial support from China.
In a meeting with the People’s Republic of China’s State Councilor and Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that project preparations “have already been moving quite fast ahead.”
In particular, Dominguez said they will hasten the project implementation of the the South Long Haul Manila-Bicol Railway and the Clark-Subic Railway projects.
“Under the guidance of President Duterte, we have been working very hard to achieve both the goals of President Duterte and President Xi Jinping in the development of the relationship between China and the Philippines,” Dominguez said during the meeting.
Minister Wang, for his part, said that “what is needed now [are] specific and concrete actions to move forward [our] practical cooperation across the board.”
“What I hope you and our other friends sitting here today will do is to have more communication with your counterparts so that jointly, we can fully tap the potential of our cooperation,” Minister Wang said.
Also at the meeting were the other members of the Philippine delegation, including Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana, and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
Also part of the delegation were Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade; Vivencio Dizon, president-CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority; and other senior government officials.
Wang said bilateral relations between the Philippines and China have vastly improved and “entered a fast track of development under the guidance of President Duterte and President Xi.”
“There are many works of cooperation to be advanced. I hope and I believe, through your current visit, we will reach even more consensus and cooperation between our two countries to deliver even greater benefits to the Chinese and Filipino people and make our respective contributions to regional peace and stability,” Wang said.
Dominguez, for his part, said that since President Duterte assumed office, “the relationship [between the two countries] has become very close.”
He informed Wang that the Philippines has “received a lot of investments from your country as well as tourists have been coming in [from China].”
Minister Wang informed Dominguez and the rest of the Philippine delegation that he and his counterpart, Secretary Cayetano “and our two foreign ministries will coordinate with other respective departments to do as much as we can to foster a sound condition (and) atmosphere for the economic cooperation between our two countries.”
The warm relations between the two countries since President Duterte assumed office in 2016 has led to rising Chinese investments in the Philippines.