Philippines Snubs Chinese funds for infrastructure projects – Self suffice

Philippines is no longer going for a loan from China to fund the 2.7-billion rehabilitation of the Navotas Fish Port Complex, as well as Phase 2 of the P7-billion Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project.

"Financing the [Navotas] project using government funds is an option that we are considering," Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations Joel Rudinas said in an interview with reporters Thursday.

 "The upgrade of the Navotas Fish Port Complex has been identified as a very necessary, if not, a critical project," Rudinas added.

The Agriculture Department was looking at borrowing up to 2.56 billion from the China Export-Import Bank to upgrade the 35-year-old port complex.

"We figured that the required funding is not that big anyway," Rudinas said. "I suppose the Philippine government can finance it on its own," he added.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) board is yet to approve the project, even though the Cabinet-level NEDA-Investment Coordination Committee approved it in May.

The Agriculture Department said it would present new financing options for the Navotas Fish Port Complex to NEDA. No date was set for the presentation.

Previously, government said it will shoulder 137 million for the rehabilitation of the fish port, which is expected to stabilize fish supply and prices in Metro Manila.

By improving the infrastructure for unloading, the Agriculture Department expects trade in fisheries products to increase by 60 percent to 210,806 metric tons (MT) in 2015 from the current average of 131,934 MT a year.

The National Capital Region sources 80 percent of its fish requirements from the Navotas Fish Port.

On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the Philippine is also no longer interested in getting financial assistance from China for the second phase of the P7-billion Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project.

Manila earlier asked the Beijing for 5.29-billion loan to fund the project.

Instead, the Philippine government has turned to South Korea. Agriculture officials said Manila already asked for a credit facility from the Korean Exim Bank for the irrigation component of the Casecnan project.

GMA News

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