Diokno: Xi’s visit will fast-track PH-China infra project negotiations
The two-day state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping will help ease the negotiation process of China-funded infrastructure projects in the Philippines, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Monday.
“Sa experience namin, lalo na itong mga negotiations sa mga projects mas maganda talaga kung highest level ‘no. Kasi kapag sila na ‘yung nag-uusap susunod ‘yung buong bureaucracy nila kaysa ‘yung kausap mo lang isang minister, ito Presidente na,” Diokno told reporters in forum.
(In our experience, especially in project negotiations like this, it is really good if it is done in the highest level. This is because the bureacracy will follow if it is an agreement between ministers or presidents.)
China, according to the budget chief, has committed to provide $9 billion in loans for the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
Xi will visit the country on Tuesday, Malacañang announced earlier. It will be the first state visit of a Chinese President in the country in 13 years.
During the state visit, the Palace said the two leaders will exchange views on areas of mutual concern and chart the course of the future of Philippines-China bilateral relations.
Earlier, Diokno said at least 10 loan agreements for infrastructure projects will be signed when Xi visits the Philippines.
However, concerns were raised after US Vice President Mike Pence warned countries of the alleged Chinese debt trap, referring to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. /ee