China to invest more in Mindanao

PRRD IN CHINA. President Rodrigo Duterte is welcomed by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua upon his arival at the Beijing International Airport in the People’s Republic of China on Wednesday night. PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

China will pour more investments in Mindanao and import more crops from the country’s second largest island grouping as its relationship with the Philippines is “enjoying the best time in history,” Chinese Deputy Consul General Duokon Tang said.

Tang reiterated China would help the Philippines develop by strengthening its support for infrastructure development and importing top agricultural crops from Mindanao to China.

“This is a very, very rare, valuable and precious opportunity for us, we must seek it,” he said.

He vowed to introduce Mindanao as a possible investment destination to more Chinese businessmen.

The Chinese government opened its consulate general in Davao City on October 28 last year.

Vicente Lao, chair of the Mindanao Business Council said in a text message on Sunday that the Philippine should take advantage of the desire of China to invest here to push the growth of the country.

“We have never had it so good,” he said of the country’s stronger diplomatic ties with China under the Duterte administration.

He said the country’s relationship with China would boost the domestic economy.

“The gross regional domestic product is high, inflation is low and the interest is very low. We should advantage of the desire of China to invest in the Philippines so that we will be able to grow and become a middle-income country,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte is set to leave for China later this month, his 5th visit since he was elected President in 2016.

Approved Chinese investments in the country in 2018 reached 50.7 billion pesos compared to 2.3 billion pesos recorded in 2017, according to a data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) last February.

Investments from China comprised 28.3 percent, the highest, of the 179 billion pesos in total foreign investments approved last year.

Singapore came in second with approved investment pledges worth PhP 21.181B: Japan pledged PhP 19.7 B; British Virgin Islands, PhP 16.2 B; Malaysia, P14.6 B; United States of America, P12.8 B; Taiwan, P4.2 B; United Kingdom, P3.8 B; France, P2.56 B; and Australia, P2.4B.

These figures were based on the pledges approved by the Board of Investments, Clark Development Corporation, Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, BOI-Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, and Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.

Tang added some of the Chinese-supported infrastructure projects in the Philippines have already started while the others are undergoing feasibility study. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)