PH seeks alternative funding for transport projects as Chinese interest wanes

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PH seeks alternative funding for transport projects as Chinese interest wanes
  • The Philippines is seeking alternative funding sources for key transport projects with Chinese interest waning
  • China had previously committed to funding the Mindanao Railway Project, South Long Haul Project and Subic-Clark Railway
  • No progress has since been seen since China made the commitment
  • The Department of Finance indicated the Philippines is “no longer inclined to pursue the Chinese ODA financing for the Mindanao Railway Project Phase 1 Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment”
  • Alternative funding sources include the Japan International Cooperation Agency, World Bank, and Asian Development Bank

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is seeking alternative funding for key transport infrastructure projects, with Chinese interest waning.

“We will look for another funding source. We are working on that now,” Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista announced during a recent German–Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry meeting.

The P142-billion Philippine National Railways South Long Haul Project, P83-billion Mindanao Railway Project, and P51-billion Subic-Clark Railway were initially slated to receive Chinese official development assistance (ODA). But so far no progress has been made on any one of the projects. This has led the Department of Finance to write Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, saying the Philippines was “no longer inclined to pursue the Chinese ODA financing for the Mindanao Railway Project Phase 1 Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment.”

The letter is silent on the reason for withdrawal of the loan application.

“Moving forward, we wish to inform you that the [Philippine government] remains open to holding project-related discussions and technical-level exchanges on any other pipeline projects under Chinese financing,” the letter said.

Bautista said he is undeterred by this development, as there are viable alternatives from Japan International Cooperation Agency, the World Bank, and Asian Development Bank.

Discussions are also ongoing with other governments that have expressed interest in supporting the projects, he added.