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RP further improved economic ties with neighbors in 2017

The Philippines’ economic relations with its neighbors in the region such as China continued to improve in 2017 following President Duterte’s foreign policy rebalancing towards Asia.
Aid, concessional financing, and investment pledges made by China after its top leaders met with President Duterte in 2016 have progressed into agreements, several of them to help fund the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure modernization program and its war against illegal drugs.
Moreover, China was among the first countries to pledge assistance in helping rebuild Marawi City in Mindanao after President Duterte declared it free of ISIS-inspired extremists last October.
“The unprecedented pledges of assistance from China that President Duterte had generated for the Philippines in 2017 make up the initial investment dividend from his prescient foreign-policy rebalancing toward Asia,” said Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez.
China is now among the Philippines’ closest allies, with the country delivering swiftly on its respective pledges of assistance to help fund the government’s “Build, Build, Build” and Marawi reconstruction programs, Dominguez said.
Premier Li Keqiang, who was among the world leaders who took part in the 31st Asean summit and its Related Meetings hosted by Duterte last November in Manila, extended his stay here for an official visit, becoming the first Chinese premier in 10 years to visit the Philippines, after Premier Wen Jiabao who attended the Second East Asia Summit in Cebu in 2007.
During Premier Li’s visit, Duterte said “Mutual trust and confidence-building have led to increased interaction on many levels of our two governments. Practical cooperation in many areas is bringing in an early harvest of tangible benefits.”
Li, for his part, observed that relations between the Philippines and China are now as warm as Manila’s weather. “Winter has come to the Northern Hemisphere but the temperature in Manila is still running pretty high. I think that somewhat reflects the temperature of Philippine-China relations, which is also going pretty high on the basis of the positive improvement of the relations between the two countries,” Li said during his visit here.
According to the International Finance Group (IFG) of the Department of Finance (DOF), China has so far committed an estimated $7.34 billion in soft loans and grants to the Philippines for the implementation of 10 big-ticket projects, the construction of two bridges in Metro Manila and two drug rehabilitation facilities in Mindanao, and aid to rehabilitate Marawi City.

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