The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Sunday it had agreed with the Chinese Embassy in Manila to restart negotiations for major transportation projects in the country, three days after Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista and Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian had their first meeting.
“The two officials discussed resumption of talks for the major China-funded railway projects such as the PNR South Long Haul Project (North-South Commuter Railway), Subic-Clark Railway and Mindanao Railway (Tagum-Davao-Digos),” the DOTr wrote on its Facebook page.
Earlier, Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez said the Chinese government did not act on the Duterte administration’s request for loan financing for three major railway projects, which meant these were considered withdrawn and needed to be renegotiated by the incumbent government.
Chavez said the Duterte administration’s National Economic and Development Authority Board approved the three railway projects to be funded by China’s official development assistance loans.
But the negotiations that began in 2018 did not prosper because China did not act on the Philippine government’s requests for funding, according to the DOTr.
Also, Chavez said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered them to renegotiate the loan agreements for the three railway projects, noting that, as a matter of policy, the government should encourage more investments in railways.
Bautista and Huang also tackled China-Philippines Maritime Cooperation Projects during the meeting, the department said.
Among these projects are the hotline communication and legal affairs cooperation arrangements between the Philippine Coast Guard and the China Coast Guard; possible collaboration on Maritime Traffic Safety, Ferry Safety; a Memorandum of Understanding on Maritime Search and Rescue; and the capacity building for maritime governance, safety supervision, and vessel safety inspection.
“The Chinese government’s funding support for these projects will serve to strengthen bilateral relations and enhance the partnership between the Philippines and China,” the department said.