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.