By Genalyn Kabiling
BEIJING — The Philippine government has pledged to pursue “clean and green” infrastructure projects as the country hastens its shift to a “low-carbon” development.
President Duterte made the commitment to promote environment-friendly development, including seeking green technology and green financing for renewable energy programs, during his participation to the recently-concluded second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.
“We also aim to enhance cooperation in green technology. That is why we want to accelerate our transition to low-carbon development pathways,” Duterte said at the leaders’ roundtable session last Saturday.
“We will also ensure our infrastructure systems should be clean and green. We will strengthen our policy framework for green financing in order to attract investments in renewable energy,” he added.
He said the Philippines has launched a massive infrastructure development program, considered the biggest in the country’s history, “to transform our archipelago into one integrated economic space.”
At least 75 major infrastructure projects worth $41.6 billion will be implemented in the medium-term, according to Duterte.
“Our goal is to promote new growth centers outside the already congested urban-industrial region surrounding Metropolitan Manila. This will create more job opportunities for our people,” he added.
Under the “Build, Build, Build” program, the Duterte government aims to modernize the country’s infrastructure network. The projects, that include roads, railways, bridges, airports, and irrigation systems, aim to usher in the golden age of infrastructure following years of neglect. These are expected to spur countryside development and create more jobs.
Duterte, in his speech at the Belt and Road forum, also took pride of the country’s economic resurgence, saying the Philippines will soon become an upper middle-income country.
“By 2020, the combined economies of Asian countries will be larger than that of the rest of the world. The Philippines, in particular, is set to join the ranks of upper-middle-income countries as it is projected to become the 25th largest economy in the world in PPP (purchasing power parity) terms,” he said.
He also made a pitch for the protection and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources during the forum attended by Xi and other world leaders.
He said the country was seeking “to improve our collective capacity to manage and protect marine resources.”
He noted that oceans and seas, regarded as channels of transportation and communication, and a vital source of
sustenance and livelihood, connect and sustain the nations across the world.
“It is thus our collective duty to promote their sustainable and peaceful use in accordance with international law,” he said.