China pledges $7.34 B for Phl infra

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - By MARY GRACE PADIN

China has pledged an es­ti­mated $7.34 bil­lion in loans and grants to the Philip­pines for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the gov­ern­ment’s flag­ship in­fra­struc­ture projects and other pri­or­ity pro­grams, the Depart­ment of Fi­nance (DOF) said yes­ter­day.

Ac­cord­ing to the DOF International Fi­nance Group (IFG), the bulk or $7.19 bil­lion of the amount came in the form of loans, which are in­tended to fi­nance 10 big-ticket in­fra­struc­ture projects.

The re­main­ing $148.22 mil­lion was of­fered as grants to as­sist in the con­struc­tion of two bridges as well the gov­ern­ment’s drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and Marawi re­con­struc­tion ef­forts.

The IFG said the $7.19 bil­lion in loan is ex­pected to fi­nance 85 per­cent of the to­tal cost of the 10 projects China has agreed to pay for.

Of the amount, $3.21 bil­lion will fi­nance the first bas­ket of in­fra­struc­ture projects Manila sub­mit­ted to Beijing ear­lier for fund­ing.

These in­clude the $234.92-mil­lion Kaliwa-New Cen­ten­nial Wa­ter Source in Que­zon prov­ince, the $72.49-mil­lion Chico River Pump Ir­ri­ga­tion Project in North Lu­zon, and the $2.91 bil­lion Philip­pine National Rail­ways South Long Haul Rail­way project.

The re­main­ing $3.98 bil­lion loan rep­re­sents the sec­ond batch of projects up for fund­ing as­sis­tance from China.

“For the sec­ond bas­ket of projects, the Philip­pines and China agreed to line up about $3.98 bil­lion in loans that may in­clude $947.64 mil­lion for the Su­bic-Clark Rail­way and $424.81 mil­lion for the Davao City Ex­press­way,” the DOF said.

How­ever, the IFG clar­i­fied the sec­ond bas­ket of projects are still up for fur­ther dis­cus­sion and ap­proval pro­cesses. The agency said these are still un­der­go­ing fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies.

Ac­cord­ing to the IFG, the agree­ments for sev­eral of the projects are set to be signed by Chi­nese and Philip­pine of­fi­cials on the side­lines of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN) Plus Three Sum­mit to­day.

Chi­nese Premier Li Ke­qiang, who rep­re­sents Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, is ex­pected to wit­ness the sign­ing of the bi­lat­eral agree­ments.

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