The Philippines is “earnestly looking forward” to actively participating in the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held next month in Beijing, Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a statement released on Sunday.
Dominguez said the forum, which will be attended by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, will be a major catalyst for more comprehensive international collaboration aimed at creating a better future for economies across the globe.
“We appreciate China’s Belt and Road infrastructure program that will more closely link the economies of Asia and Europe. This program will shape the future of this century and the next century,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez, who visited Beijing last week, has underscored the remarkable progress made in enhancing bilateral relations between Manila and Beijing as both sides expressed optimism over the “pragmatic cooperation” between the two countries becoming even stronger in the coming years.
In his meeting with Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, Dominguez said that over the past two years under Duterte’s leadership, the Philippines has seen its relationship with China growing closer and more comprehensive.
He also thanked China for the generous support it has extended to the (Philippines’) ambitious effort to modernise its infrastructure and build a more competitive economy.
“We look forward to implementing more strategic infrastructure projects supported by highly concessional financing from China,” Dominguez said during a dinner-meeting between officials of the two countries to discuss the status of the Philippines’ priority projects being rolled out with funding assistance from China.
The Philippine officials discussed the Philippines’ economic performance and outlook, presented the long list of infrastructure development projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program, and invited investors to do business in the Philippines and ride on the economy’s growth trajectory.
The “Build, Build, Build” program, which was rolled out by the Duterte administration in 2017, intends to spend 8 to 9 trillion pesos (roughly 160 to 180 billion U.S. dollars) in the medium term on building roads, bridges, airports, seaports and railways in the Philippines.
“Like China, the Philippines is well positioned for growth. The Philippines, with a fast-growing economy and business-friendly tax reforms, is perfect for investment,” Dominguez said, pointing to his country’s “strong fiscal position” that has paved the way for the government to invest in an ambitious infrastructure program that works in concert with the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
“We look forward to a seamless network for the flow of goods, the exchange of best practices, and boundless cooperation in the coming years,” Dominguez added.