Hong Kong – Over P3 billion worth of economic and infrastructure assistance will be provided to the Philippines by China as a result of the latest dialogue between the two countries’ leaders, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. announced on Wednesday, April 11.
The Palace Spokesperson held a press briefing here with Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
The officials gave updates on the bilateral meeting that was held between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan,China.
Apart from the P3.8 billion economic and infrastructure assistance that was provided by China through various signed agreements by the countries’ line agencies, Roque said nine Chinese companies also signed letters of intent to explore business opportunities in the Philippines, which has an estimated investment value of $9.5 billion.
With regard to discussions on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute, Roque said there was an agreement between the two nations to focus on stability and strengthened communications in order to avoid untoward incidents.
The Secretary stressed that all projects that were discussed during the bilateral meeting were aimed at benefiting the Filipino people.
Secretary Andanar for his part announced that the Chinese government had expressed commitment to help with the infrastructure development of the country’s broadcasting system.
“It is a very good indication that China is very committed to helping our government media in the Philippines in improving its services,” Andanar said.
The PCOO Secretary cited President Xi’s remark on the importance of media exchange not just between the Philippines and China, but also among other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states.
Andanar also said China would continue to provide scholarships to media members of the Philippine government for the next four years.
Meanwhile, Secretary Cayetano quoted the Chinese President as saying that the essence of the state-to-state relationship between China and the Philippines is based on the concept of mutual trust.
The Foreign Affairs Secretary further assured the safety of the Chinese President during his forthcoming visit in the country this November, stressing that the Philippines has become much safer under the Duterte administration.
“We have assured the Chinese of not only great hospitality, warm welcome, but also of the necessary security preparations,” Cayetano said.
Sec. Roque cited that Chinese visitors in the Philippines almost doubled in number since President Duterte assumed office, which indicates that the country is seen as a safer place to visit.
Palace: Boracay rehab to benefit ordinary Filipinos
During the same press briefing, Secretary Roque reiterated the President’s latest statement that there would be no plan for a casino project in Boracay Island.
“The President was talking about the physical existence of a casino in Boracay which he will not allow, unless he has issued a proclamation to this effect because of the decision that Boracay, the island, is state-owned,” Roque clarified.
The Palace Spokesperson stressed that as far as Boracay is concerned, President Duterte’s priority at this time is to preserve the island for future generations, as well as to ensure that ordinary Filipinos, not just rich business owners, would benefit mostly from the island’s rehabilitation.
“It’s up to the President to decide who will be given actually tenurial rights in Boracay. He has said that he would like to give priority to the ordinary Filipinos, to the farmers… But for the time being, the task is to preserve Boracay for the future generations,” Roque said. ### PCO-Content