'Come and build, build, build,' Philippines urge

The country has launched a US$170 billion program to upgrade infrastructure in on the of the world's fastest-growing economies over the next five years.
Feng Jianmin / SHINE

Philippines government officials are in China to encourage investment in the country, one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

A high level delegation from the Philippines is in Shanghai to drum up investment in the county’s largest infrastructure push — a strategy worth up to US$170 billion called “Build, Build,Build.”

President Rodrigo Duterte’s program focuses on airports, seaports, railways, expressways, subways and other major infrastructure over the next five years to boost growth in what is already one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, largely driven by a construction boom.

Duterte has promised to usher in a “golden age of infrastructure” by raising annual spending to 7 percent of GDP by 2023 from less than 3 percent previously and above the 5 percent average of neighboring countries.

The delegation is urging Chinese contractors and investors to take advantage of the “Build, Build, Build” strategy, pointing to the country’s strong growth and friendly business environment.

“Investors who do business in the Philippines are in for profitable times ahead, with the government investing in numerous large-scale infrastructure projects as well as social services, most especially in the countryside, to make the economy truly inclusive and propel the country to upper-middle income status by 2022,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said.

The program connects well with China’s Belt and Road initiative and the Philippines government is reforming foreign investment rules to cut red tape and open up the domestic market, he said.

The Philippine government has set an economic growth target of 7-8 percent for 2018 to 2022, and economic officials say the economy is on track to hit that goal.

Mark Villar, secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways, said the government and Duterte would ensure the long-term safety of Chinese investment in the Philippines.

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