China eyes more visits to Philippines

THE visit of Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang in Davao City to show their country’s investment interest with the Philippines’ infrastructure development programs will be followed by another visit of the Chinese ambassador Zhao Jianhua on March 24 and a fact-finding mission visit next month in preparation for President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Beijing in April.

The five infrastructure developments that were presented to the vice premier include the Davao City Expressway, Davao Coastal Road, Davao Coastline and Port Development, Mindanao Railway, and the Francisco Bangoy International Airport (FBIA) upgrade.

“Right now, these projects had the feasibility studies so that means they are still up to be offered to our investors either through the Public Private Partnership or through the official development assistance. It’s only the Davao Coastal Road that has the initial layout from the Department of Public Works and Highways. The rest are still up for offering,” said National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Regional Director Maria Lourdes Lim in a press conference at the FBIA on Saturday, March 18.

Lim added that out of these projects, only the upgrade of the airport was already approved by the Neda board, headed by the president himself, while the rest of the projects are still in the pipeline.

“I believe these will be the subject matters of the mission that will be sent back by the Chinese vice premier next month so we are hopeful that the terms of reference will soon be prepared right after the mission visit and we expect this will be part of the discussion points between the officials of the Chinese government and the Philippine government during the president’s visit in Beijing,” Lim said.

Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang, who was also present during the visit of the vice premier to represent Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said Vice Premier Wang Yang was actually sent by the Chinese President Xi Jinping to conduct a follow-through activity as far as their government is concerned in terms of project development commitment, not only in Davao City but also the Philippine government as well.

“His arrival here is equipped with followed-through and time-bounded activities. The ambassador of China said they will be sending a fact-finding mission to look at all these projects: Mindanao railways, infrastructure programs, bridges, expressways, and among others. If you look at it, the Chinese government is really committed. They have a time-bounded direction that may result to some infrastructure development program of the city,” Dayanghirang said, who aside being the chairman of City Council’s Committee on Finance, also sits as one of the Davao City PPP board members.