By Genalyn D. Kabiling
President Duterte is back in the country with a P4-billion grant from the government of China and around $9-billion worth of investment pledges from private businessmen.
The President arrived in Davao City early yesterday from his four-day journey to China and Hong Kong, citing the renewed commitment to boost economic and defense cooperation between the two nations.
“I am glad to be back from my official visit to China for the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference,” Duterte said in his arrival speech at the Davao International Airport.
“We have secured so many billions and that 500 Renminbi, gratis ‘yan ha. There’s no contract about building a railroad. It’s R4 billion straight,” he said.
Duterte said he would ask Congress to use the funds to upgrade some public hospitals in Mindanao.
“The first one is I will repair and equip the hospitals in the south, particularly in Jolo and Basilan. Wala silang CT scan, wala silang MRI and competent doctors,” he said. “And maybe sa medicines for…Gusto ko ibigay muna ito sa those that really, really, urgently immediate ang needs,” he added.
Duterte said nine business agreements signed during his visit to China are projected to generate more than 10,000 jobs for Filipinos. The investment proposals covered real estate, energy, tourism, and agriculture, among others.
On the sidelines of the BFA conference, the President held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on issues such as joint sea exploration and closer economic and defense cooperation, among others.
“In my meeting with President Xi Jinping, we reaffirmed our commitment to sustain the vigor of Philippine-China relations,” he said. “We both underscored the need for further intensified cooperation, trade and investments, tourism, agriculture, defense, science and technology and energy, among other things,” he added.
Six bilateral agreements on labor, infrastructure, and agriculture cooperation were also forged after the President’s meeting with Xi at the Boao State Guesthouse.