Philip­pines taps China-backed AIIB to fix in­fras­truc­ture

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

MANILA: Philippine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has tapped a China-backed mul­ti­lat­eral lender to help fund his gov­ern­ment’s “un­prece­dented in­fras­truc­ture buildup”, the fi­nance min­is­ter said yes­ter­day, as he seeks closer re­la­tions with Bei­jing.

The Bei­jing-based Asian In­fras­truc­ture In­vest­ment Bank (AIIB) has been viewed by some as a ri­val to the World Bank and the Philip­pines-based Asian Devel­op­ment Bank (ADB). Duterte has vowed to boost spend­ing to ad­dress crum­bling in­fras­truc­ture, say­ing he would seek funds from China as he piv­ots his na­tion’s for­eign pol­icy away from tra­di­tional ally the United States.

Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez said he met with AIIB pres­i­dent Jin Liqun in Manila last week, who con­firmed the lender would fund two projects. “The Philip­pines’ mem­ber­ship to the AIIB would pro­vide the gov­ern­ment an­other source of long-term fund­ing ... for the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion’s un­prece­dented in­fras­truc­ture buildup,” Dominguez said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

Duterte, 71, in­creas­ingly turned to China for loans and aid as he took ex­cep­tion to United States crit­i­cism of his drug war that has killed thou­sands. Over the week­end Duterte at­tacked Wash­ing­ton for de­fer­ring aid be­cause of hu­man rights con­cerns over his anti-crime crack­down.

“Eat your aid and we will sur­vive. I’ll go to China,” he said. Jin said the AIIB would pro­vide loans for a Manila flood man­age­ment project and a bus rapid tran­sit sys­tem in the cap­i­tal, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment. The 23 bil­lion peso ($470 mil­lion) Manila flood con­trol project would be co-fi­nanced with the World Bank, while the 37 bil­lion peso ($756 mil­lion) bus sys­tem, which in­cludes con­struc­tion of 63 sta­tions, would be partly funded by the ADB, the state­ment added. “We are all very ea­ger to fi­nalise the in­fras­truc­ture projects ... This time, we are very happy we can re­ally talk about some­thing to do in your coun­try,” the state­ment quoted Jin as say­ing. The Philip­pines un­der the gov­ern­ment of then pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino joined the AIIB last year de­spite con­flict­ing ter­ri­to­rial claims with Bei­jing over the South China Sea.

Duterte signed the treaty in Oc­to­ber and the Se­nate this month ap­proved its rat­i­fi­ca­tion. The Philip­pines is among 57 mem­bers of the AIIB, with China the largest share­holder with 30 per­cent. — AFP


MANILA: A group of Metro Manila Devel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (MMDA) em­ploy­ees wash­ing dishes following a com­mu­nal lunch as traf­fic is seen past Manila’s fi­nan­cial dis­trict in the back­ground. Philippine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has tapped a Chin­abacked mul­ti­lat­eral lender to help fund his gov­ern­ment’s “un­prece­dented in­fras­truc­ture buildup”, the fi­nance min­is­ter said yes­ter­day.

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