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Philippines Drops China Funding Deal for Rail Links – Benar

Manila has scrapped a deal with China to fund and build three rail projects on Luzon and Mindanao islands, which were considered defunct even before Marcos Jr took office in mid-2022

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr is keen to bolster economic ties on energy, climate and trade on his first official visit to Washington, which starts on Monday.
The government of Ferdinand Marcos Jr may now seek funds for rail lines on Luzon and Mindanao from Japan or other states, officials say. Reuters file photo.


The Philippines has dropped a funding deal with China for three rail projects agreed to by former President Rodrigo Duterte, according to a report by Benar News, which said Transportation Secretary Jaime Batista announced the news about projects with an estimated cost of $4.9 billion – two lines on the main island of Luzon and a third on Mindanao in the country’s far south.

Bautista spoke days after Chinese vessels collided with Philippine vessels seeking to resupply troops on the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratley Islands, but said tension from territorial disputes in the South China Sea were not linked to this decision – but rather, inaction or disinterest on the part of China for more than a year.

“We have three projects that won’t be funded by the Chinese government anymore. We can’t wait forever and it seems like China isn’t that interested anymore,” Bautista was quoted as telling a forum of German and Philippine businessmen in Makati, the report said, adding that there were calls from a senior planning official in mid-2022 to seek “better” deals on the proposed links from Japan, Korea, Australia, the US or EU, because rates charged by China’s infrastructure bank were much higher than interest on development assistance loans from Japan and Korea.

Read the full report: Benar News.




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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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