PH, China sign deal on P3.6-B grant for Pasig River bridges

BEIJING, China – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of 4 deals during their bilateral meeting on Monday, May 15, in Beijing.

Among the deals was an agreement to pave the way for a 500-million yuan or P3.6-billion grant from China for the construction of two bridges to span the Pasig River in Metro Manila.

The deal, called the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation, was signed for the Philippines by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

"The agreement will serve as the basis for the grant to be provided by China to the Philippines to implement the grant of RMB 500,000,000," reads a Palace statement.

The two bridges covered by the P3.6-billion grant are the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge and the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge to be constructed near the Guadalupe Bridge.

China's grant for these two bridges was announced by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua last March.

Zhao had also announced a grant of 50 million yuan or P360 million for two drug rehabilitation centers in Mindanao, which was also included in the agreement signed on Monday.

Three MOUs

The other 3 deals signed were memoranda of understanding (MOUs), which are non-binding documents.

An MOU on Cooperation in Human Resource Development was signed by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

The deal, signed with China's Ministry of Commerce, will serve as a framework for both countries to promote personnel exchanges.

An MOU on Energy Cooperation was entered into by the Department of Energy and China's National Energy Administration. Signed by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, it aims to encourage both countries to help each other improve their electric power, oil, and natural gas sectors.

The last deal signed was the MOU between the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and China's International Publishing Group.

This MOU is seen as a follow-up agreement to implement the deal between the PCOO and China's State Council Information Office signed during Duterte's state visit in October 2016.

Through the deal, the two governments hope to enhance their capabilities in publishing and improve cooperation between their state-run news organizations.

After the bilateral meeting where the documents were signed, Duterte and Xi had a restricted meeting.

The Philippine President then took a late-night flight back to his hometown of Davao City where he is set to give a statement about his trip to Beijing. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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