MANILA — The Duterte administration will prioritize building big infrastructure projects in Mindanao and in Metro Manila to create more jobs and uplift the living conditions of Filipinos, the country’s Finance Secretary said on Wednesday.
In a press briefing in Malacañan, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Philippines received pledges from China amounting to US$ 6 billion dollars of official development assistance (ODA) and US$ 3 billion in loans.
Since this is the first time the Philippines is receiving ODA from China, the government does not have a complete list of projects yet.
Among the projects in government’s pipeline are a big irrigation project in the ARMM in Mindanao, the Php200 billion railways project from Manila to Bicol and infrastructure projects within the Greater Manila Area, Dominguez said.
“But our projects really are going to be aimed outside of Greater Manila Area because we want to create jobs for people there, good jobs, so that we can reduce poverty in those areas,” Dominguez said.
Aside from China’s ODA, there’s US$ 15 billion in private sectors investments that will focus on projects like building a hotel chain in the Philippines and developing infrastructures in the Clark Green City area, according to Dominguez.
Over the next six years, Dominguez said, they expect increased public spending to further boost overall growth performance, adding the administration needs to rapidly build new roads, railways, ports to decongest cities and reduce the logistics cost for most basic goods.
While doing this, the government will expand and deepen the financial system. This is to broaden public access to banks and capital markets, support small business industries with accessible credit, and raise capital for industry, according to the Finance chief.
With ASEAN Financial Integration, there is now an opportunity to take advantage of the regional population of more than 600 million people to raise the production frontier and multiply the country’s economies of scale, he added.
“The new government has put in place a clear, coherent economic strategy to reduce poverty rates effectively in the medium term and lift the Philippine economy to high, middle-income status within the space of a generation. We call this the 10-point socio-economic program of the Duterte administration,” Dominguez said.
With the growth momentum, a low inflation rate, stable currency andstrong political leadership, the Philippines earnestly opens its doors to do business with its neighbors, he said.
In the same briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said President Rodrigo Duterte is thankful to former President Ramos for his help to the Duterte administration as the Special Envoy to China.
The former President recently filed his resignation as the country’s special envoy to China.
Abella said President Duterte has expressed his gratitude to Ramos for serving the country despite his age.
“He would continue to listen to the former President’s advice although he would continue also to pursue his own track,” Abella said.
Abella said despite quitting his post as the Special Envoy to China, President Duterte and former President Ramos will continue to have a solid and respectful relationship.
In the same briefing, Abella clarified reports on the recent decision of the President to dismantle checkpoints.
“When and where necessary, mobile checkpoints can be set up from point to point depending on the need of the hour,” he said. PNA-northboundasia.com