MANILA - Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez lauded anew
the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative on Tuesday, saying it is a
"powerful idea" that promotes interconnectivity among world economies.
The Belt and Road Initiative is really a powerful idea. It brings
together a lot of major economies in the world to promote free trade and
improve access to each other's markets, which is really an engine for
growth, Dominguez told Xinhua News Agency in an interview.
Dominguez said the Philippines has already benefited from the initiative.
Regarding the cooperation between China's Belt and Road Initiative
and the Philippines' Build, Build, Build infrastructure program,
Dominguez said that there are more cooperation projects in the pipeline,
including the Kaliwa Dam or the New Centennial Water Source project
that will supply water for the Metro Manila area.
"The dam is really very significant for Metro Manila residents," he added.
He said the Philippines is now working with China on the construction
of the Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros Bridge in the central Philippines and the
Davao-Samal bridge in the southern Philippines.
"All these are about connectivity," Dominguez said.
Under the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, the Philippine
government plans to spend more than 8 trillion pesos ($151 billion)
until 2022 on infrastructure projects such as railways, ports, roads and
Dominguez led a high-level Philippine government delegation that
visited Beijing last week to discuss cooperation infrastructure projects
in the pipeline.
"All the meetings (in Beijing) were extremely productive," Dominguez said.
Lucio Blanco Pitlo, a lecturer at the Chinese Studies Program of
Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, also expressed optimism
that Sino-Philippine cooperation will further bloom, saying the
Philippines' Build, Build, Build program can indeed benefit from China's
Belt and Road Initiative.
"I expect both sides to continue cooperation," Pitlo told Xinhua in a separate interview.
He said China had developed tremendous capacity for infrastructure, renewable energy, mechanized agriculture and manufacturing.
"Cooperation in these areas can have a transformative impact on the
Philippine economy. It can ease traffic congestion and disperse
development outside metropolitan areas, unlock the potential of the
countryside through more efficient farming and faster connections to
markets in the cities, ensure access to clean, green and sustainable
sources of energy and expand the country's manufacturing sector," Pitlo
"These will attract capital, create jobs and contribute to food and energy security," he added.
As of July 2018, more than 100 economies and international
organizations had signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with China,
extending the initiative's scope from Asia and Europe to Africa, Latin
America and the Caribbean, and the South Pacific region.