PH, China ink pact on building 2 Pasig River bridges

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BEIJING -- The Philippines and China have signed an agreement on the P3.6 billion (500 million yuan) grant for the construction of two Pasig River bridges and drug rehabilitation centers in Mindanao.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of the agreement after their bilateral talks here on Monday, May 15.

The Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People’s Republic of China was signed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and his Chinese counterpart.

“The Agreement will serve as the basis for the grant to be provided by China to the Philippines, to implement the grant of RMB 500,000,000 (Five Hundred Million Renminbi Yuan only); to conduct feasibility studies for major projects, construction of the drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation center and bridges crossing the Pasig River; and other projects agreed by both sides,” Malacañang said in a statement.

The two bridges to be built will be the 
Binondo-Intramuros Bridge and the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, which will be located near the Guadalupe Bridge.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua said in March that two drug rehabilitation centers would be built in Mindanao as part of the P3.6 billion grant.

Aside from the agreement, three other memorandum of understanding (MOUs) were signed.

Socioeconomic Secretary Ernesto Pernia and his counterpart inked the MOU on Cooperation in Human Resource Development. “The MOU will serve as the framework for the Philippines and China to strengthen cooperation in human resource development and promoting personnel exchanges,” Malacañang said.

Another MOU signed was on energy cooperation, which is aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the electric power, oil and natural gas sectors, and others, as mutually agreed, the Palace added.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi signed the deal on behalf of the Philippine government.

An MOU between the Philippines’ Presidential Communications Operations of the Philippines and China International Publishing Group of the People’s Republic of China on News and Publishing was also signed.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar signed the deal.

Malacañang said “the MOU aims to serve as an implementing agreement between the Philippines and China based on the Memorandum of Agreement between the Presidential Communications Operations Office of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China on News and Information Exchange, Training and for Other Purposes, which was signed in Beijing on 20 October 2016 during the President’s State Visit to China.”

The objective of cooperation under the MOU is for both parties to enhance their capabilities in the field of international communication and publishing, to undertake joint or individual activities and programs that help strengthen cooperation between news organizations under the Parties.

Duterte was here for the two-day One Belt, One Road Forum hosted by Xi. Aside from their bilateral meeting, Duterte and Xi also had a restricted meeting before the Philippine leader flew back to his hometown Davao City. –