PH, China forge 10-year infra cooperation agreement
The Philippines and China have forged a 10-year infrastructure cooperation program to encourage enterprises from the two countries to participate in key transportation, telecommunications, road and bridge projects in the Philippines.
The agreement, which was made public by the Palace on Tuesday, was among the 29 deals the two countries have signed during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines last week.
The agreement starts Nov. 2018 to Nov. 2028, which will overlap with President Rodrigo Duterte’s six-year term.
The agreement is set to “strengthen the link between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Philippines’ Long Term Vision, put into practice the consensus reached between China and the Philippines on strengthening infrastructure cooperation, and promote further in-depth cooperation.”
The program will cover projects from the field of transportation, agriculture, power, watershed management, and ICT/telecommunications as main cooperation areas.
Among the projects included in the agreement are the Philippine National Railways South Long Haul, Subic-Clark Railway, Mindanao Railway, Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridge, Pasig River Ferry System, and the Ilocos Norte Irrigation Project Phase II.
Under the confidentiality cause of the agreement, the two countries are “required to maintain the confidentiality of information which shall pertain to those (i) by its nature confidential; (ii) designated by the countries as such; (iii) that they know or ought reasonable to know is confidential.”
“Disclosure of any confidential information may only be made upon consent of the country to whom the confidential information belongs or pertains to,” the document reads.
The agreement was signed on Nov. 20 by Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning Ernesto Pernia and China’s Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan.
Aside from the 10-year infrastructure cooperation program, the two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the implementation agreement of the feasibility study for the Davao City Expressway Project, and the program for cooperation on industrial parks development.
China’s participation in the Philippines’ infrastructure programs has raised the suspicion of many, claiming that the country may fall into a “debt trap” as it turns to Beijing to finance the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program.
However, the government’s economic managers have been reiterating that they are “very careful” in entering into deals with China.
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