We’re fortunate that neighboring countries are ready, willing and able to assist the country with our economic development.
As a result of the Duterte administration’s pursuance of an independent foreign policy as mandated by the 1987 Constitution,
we have strengthened ties with two economic powers in Asia, namely Japan and China.
Last year, during his visit to Japan, Duterte managed to secure $1.26 billion in commitments to finance infrastructure projects. The grants and soft loans pledged by the Japanese government in 2017 is part of the $8.8 billion in investments as well as official development assistance earlier committed by Tokyo.
At least 20 Japanese firms also signed letters of intent to pool $6 billion in new investments in agribusiness, business process management, information and communication technology, infrastructure, iron and steel, manufacturing, mineral processing, power, renewable energy, retail, shipbuilding, and transportation. That’s covers almost all sectors of the economy.
Meantime, the Philippine and Chinese governments are set to sign by midyear loan agreements for the three big-ticket infrastructure projects to be financed by the mainland. These are the P10.9-billion New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam, the P2.7-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Facility, and the P151-billion Philippine National Railways-South Long Haul Railway.
These are part of the “first basket” of projects to be funded by ODA from China. Beijing has already committed a total of $7.34 billion in loans and grants for the Duterte administration’s infrastructure program and the reconstruction of war-torn Marawi City.
Some would say that we must rely mainly on our own efforts to accelerate economic development and reduce poverty. But why can’t we also harness resources from other countries, such as Japan and China, more than willing to help us at a time when globalization is the norm. That’s also part of self-reliance.