29-man team from China visits Davao to explore opportunities

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang in his visit last March. Mindanews photo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 5 May) – A 29-man team from various state-owned Chinese corporations explored what possible infrastructure projects they can fund during their two-day exploratory mission in the city.

National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) 11 Director Maria Lourdes Lim said the mission, which was headed by the China’s Ministry of Commerce, concluded Friday.

Although no firm commitments were made yet, she said the Chinese are interested, among others, to develop the expressway, airport, seaport, and light rail transit (LRT) development.

During the visit of Vice Minister Fu and Vice Premier Wang Yang in the city last March, the Philippines and China signed a six-year development program for trade and economic cooperation to “steer and promote stable and orderly development of economic cooperation, enlarge the scope and enhance the level of cooperation, and drive sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development in both countries.”

“Vice Premier Wang Yang visited Davao City last March. Right there and then, he committed to send a mission. Here, we are now receiving the mission,” she said.

Aside from this, the two countries also would undertake the first two feasibility studies of the nine projects getting support from the Chinese, including the construction of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridges Project and Davao City Expressway Project.

Lim said China committed to conduct the feasibility study on the Davao City expressway within the year.

“Hopefully, if plans don’t miscarry we hope that a loan package can be extended with very concessional terms later this year or early next year to warrant implementation (of the expressway) in 2018,” she said.

The expressway, expected to decongest the traffic in downtown area, will have a length of 23.3 kilometers and will cost P24.5 billion.

In an interview on March 23, Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC) head Ivan Cortez said that the expressway project will be handled by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“The Chinese are very aggressive in pursuing the project,” he said.

The first phase will cover Carlos P. Garcia National Highway, Maa, Talomo, and Sta. Ana Wharf; second phase will include Carlos P. Garcia National Highway, Maa, Talomo, Panacan; and the third phase will be from Carlos P. Garcia National Highway, Maa, Talomo, Bangkal.

Cortez added it will also “complement ongoing, committed, and proposed projects for further enhancement and improvement of access that will encourage an increase in economic activities and productivity along its influence areas.”

He said that the City Government of Davao will play a coordinative role in this project, that is, to settle the properties and businesses that will be affected and expropriated as the construction of this project will commence.

“It will shorten the travel time of people, if their usual travel route plan is between north and south of the city,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)