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China Backs Emergency Powers for Philippines' Duterte

By | Feb 13, 2017 03:30 AM EST
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Visits China

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (L) shakes hands with Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China ahead of a meeting at the Great Hall of the People on October 20, 2016 in Beijing, China. (Photo : Getty Images)

China is hoping that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will be granted emergency powers to speed up construction of Beijing's planned infrastructure projects in the country, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said on Friday.

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Zhao said that China-funded project should be completed before Duterte steps down from office "because we are quite afraid of taking projects that go beyond the president term," citing potential complications and uncertainties could unfold.

"There is a very strong sense of urgency. As you know, infrastructure projects cannot be done overnight... so we must hurry. We have to get it done within the presidential term," Zhao said.

He further warned that without the emergency power, big infrastructure projects may not be done soon enough. "The process is going to be very slow, particularly with regard to the rehabilitation or the land issue, so we might be stuck there," he noted.

Zhao said that three projects are poised to start this year, namely, the Chico River Pump Irrigation project, the New Centennial Watersource project in Rizal, and the North-South Railway project. These were given priorities as "they are already approved by the Filipino side," he explained.

Philippines has given China 40 projects. Of which, 15 are for financing while 25 others for assistance with feasibility studies, the Manila Times reported. Beijing committed to give Philippines a $6 billion soft loan and $3 billion credit line from the Bank of China during his visit to the country in 2016.

Meanwhile, Zhao also assured that the projects will not be tainted with corruption, saying that both countries are "quite serious" in terms of transparency and rule-based procedure. He also said that the projects will "stand the test of time" and are going to be free from corruption.

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