Last week, China and the Philippines agreed $15bn in capital projects and $9bn in credit lines, marking the beginning of closer economic and diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Yesterday, Philippine trade secretary Ramon Lopez sent a text message to journalists setting out an itemised list detailing what would be included in the $15bn package.
They included the following construction and civil engineering schemes:
- A railway line between the former US airforce base at Clark and the former US naval base at Subic, now the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (pictured). The work will be undertaken by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and China Harbour Engineering.
- A rapid transit bus link between Bonifacio Global City and Ninoy Aquino International Airport. This will be carried out by the BCDA and China Road and Bridge Corp.
- Safe and smart city projects for BCDA by BCDA and Huawei Technologies.
- Transportation and logistics infrastructure at Sangley Point, another former US naval base, by Cavitex Holdings, International Container Terminal Services and China Harbour Engineering. Similar projects include a port development at Davao City on the island of Mindanao in the south of the archipelago, undertaken by Mega Harbour Port and China Harbour Engineering, and the Cebu bulk terminal project, also by Mega Harbour Port, this time in conjunction with the CCCC Dredging Company.
- The formation of a joint venture between Jimei Group of China and Manila-based Expedition Construction Corporation. The new entity will develop infrastructure projects.
- A number of renewable energy projects featured in the list. These included the 300MW Pulangi-5 Hydro Project by Greenergy and Power China Guizhou Engineering and North Negros and South Negros biomass projects, to be built by North Negros Biopower and Wuxi Huaguang Electric Power Engineering.
- Chinese hospitality company Jinjiang International will double it rooms from 1,000 to 2,000, in alliance with Double Dragon Properties and Hotel of Asia.
- Several industrial projects were in the mix, including a new generation steel plant by Mannage Resources and SIIC Shanghai International Trade, a cable factory by MVP Global Infrastructure Group and Suli Group and a bus manufacturing facility by Zhuhai Bus and Coach.
- Flood management projects also loomed large. This included bridge construction projects over the Pasig River, Marikina River and the Manggahan Floodway in Manila. These will be undertaken by Zonar Construct and SinoHydro.
These investment agreements are expected to generate 2 million jobs over the next five years.
The move marks a dramatic shift in the Philippines external relations under the recently elected President Rodrigo Duterte, away from the US and towards China.
The two countries had hostile relations under the previous administration, partly as a result of the continuing dispute over the ownership of islands in the South China Sea – a topic the present administration has put on hold.
Lopez commented in his text: "We will maintain relations with our other partners but we want to revive the stronger integration with our neighbours. We share centuries of trading, similar cultures and a better understanding of our region."
Image: The Subic Bay Free Trade Zone (Creative Commons)