Diokno: Xi’s visit will hasten PH-China infra project negotiations
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday asked President Rodrigo Duterte to bring up the apparent delays in the release of Chinese loans and investment pledges during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit this week.
“I hope the loan agreements that the Philippines has signed with the Chinese government will not be a case of pangakong napako (neglected promise),” Drilon said in a statement.
We must demand the Chinese government to honor its pledges,” he added.
Drilon made the call a day before Xi makes his first state visit to the country on Tuesday.
During Xi’s two-day state visit, he will exchange views with Duterte on areas of mutual concern and chart the course for the future of Philippines-China bilateral relations, Malacañang said earlier.
Senator Drilon noted that most projects under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program rely on Chinese loans and grants, which were hit by delays.
“It has been almost two years since the government has pivoted to China and signed various loan agreements, but until now there are no clear signs that these loans and investment pledges are going to be delivered soon, except for some minor projects,” Drilon said.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno is confident that the two-day state visit of Xi will help ease the negotiation process of China-funded infrastructure projects in the Philippines.
“Sa experience namin, lalo na itong mga negotiations sa mga projects mas maganda talaga kung highest level ‘no. Kasi kapag sila na ‘yung nag-uusap susunod ‘yung buong bureaucracy nila kaysa ‘yung kausap mo lang isang minister, ito Presidente na,” Diokno told reporters in forum.
(In our experience, especially in project negotiations like this, it is really good if it is done in the highest level. This is because the bureacracy will follow if it is an agreement between ministers or presidents.)
China, according to the budget chief, has committed to provide $9 billion in loans for the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
Xi will visit the country on Tuesday, Malacañang announced earlier. It will be the first state visit of a Chinese President in the country in 13 years.
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