MANILA – The Philippines has resumed talks with China to renegotiate China-funded transport projects in the country, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced Sunday.
In a press statement, the DOTr said Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista and Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian met in a formal meeting at the Chinese Embassy in Makati City on Thursday to “restart negotiations for major transport projects”.
“The two officials discussed the 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 said.
To recall, these transport projects were earlier deemed “withdrawn” due to China’s inaction on funding requests by the previous administration.
The DOTr said the Chinese government’s funding support for these projects will “strengthen bilateral relations and enhance the partnership between the Philippines and China.”
In a separate statement, Huang described his meeting with Bautista as “constructive” and expressed hope that the two countries would accomplish more infrastructure projects in the railway sector.
“[I] hope that China-Philippines cooperation in infrastructure and railway would achieve more tangible fruits and bring about more benefits to the Filipino at an early date,” he said.
He also said China is committed to helping Southeast Asian countries in railway development.
“China is also devoted to promoting the connectivity of the Southeast Asian countries by sharing its experience and introducing the cut-edging technology of railway construction and rolling stock manufacturing,” he added.
China earlier said it has helped the Philippines complete 17 projects while more than 20 projects are under implementation or in progress.
Meanwhile, Bautista and Huang also discussed several China-Philippines Maritime Cooperation Projects, particularly the hotline communication and legal affairs cooperation arrangements between the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the China Coast Guard.
Also discussed was a possible collaboration on Maritime Traffic Safety, Ferry Safety; a Memorandum of Understanding on Maritime Search and Rescue; as well as the capacity building for maritime governance, safety supervision, and vessels safety inspection. (PNA)