By Floro L. Mercene
Following China Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s recent visit to the Philippines, a total of 14 bilateral agreements involving wide-ranging areas of cooperation between the two countries were signed.
These agreements are about economic and technical cooperation, the second basket of key infrastructure projects, dangerous drugs abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers, two bridges across the Pasig River, industrial parks development, South Luzon railway project, production capacity and investment, environment, science and technology, intellectual property, youth development, Chico River and Kaliwa dam water projects, Renminbi bond issuance, and BCDA-China Development Bank accord.
The Chinese embassy in Dasmariñas Village, Makati, was the hub of frenzied activities in the days before and after the visit of Prime Minister Li Keqiang, considering that his trip was not only an official visit but also China’s participation in the all-important ASEAN and East Asian summits.
Credit clearly goes to Ambassador Zhao Jianhua and his very capable staff, who judiciously made arrangements with Filipino government officials and m edia for the success of Li’s visit.
Two accords stand out among the 14 agreements. These are the agreement on economic and technical cooperation signed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Vice Minister of Commerce Fu Ziying, international trade representative of China.
Another is the Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on Industrial Parks Development between the Department of Trade and Industry and China’s Ministry of Commerce. Secretary Ramon M. Lopez and Vice Minister Fu Ziying signed the agreement.
Another concrete and positive development on Li’s meeting with President Duterte was the opportunity extended to China to be the third player in the Philippine telecom industry.
No doubt the entry of a third player in the telecom industry will widen competition and improve the services of existing service providers who need to maintain their customer base.
China has the capital and the technology to provide efficient telecom services. The Philippines wants to avail itself of all economic advantage that it can get, from the renewed friendly ties with China.
We hope that these new developments in local telecommunications and the big-ticket infrastructure projects will not be stifled by official graft and corruption.