What Duterte accomplished in China

Pia Ranada
His visit restored bilateral ties with China but was unable to secure a commitment for Filipino fishermen to be allowed in Scarborough Shoal. He comes home with billions worth of deals, but some of them are not binding.

FRIENDSHIP RENEWED. Chinese pupils hold the flags of the Philippines and China as they welcome President Rodrigo Duterte at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 20. Photo by Toto Lozano/PPD

BEIJING, China – President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to China was marked at the beginning and in the middle by two powerful storms back home. But Duterte caused his own kind of storm in Beijing. 

On October 18, the Philippine President, tired from his Brunei trip, landed in China’s capital without much fanfare save for a trail of journalists. By his departure on October 21, the world’s headlines would blast his declaration of a “separation” from the United States, in favor of China and Russia.

GRAND WELCOME. President Duterte and President Xi review the honor guards during the arrival ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 20. Photo by King Rodriguez/PPD

In between, Duterte was given red carpet treatment by Chinese President Xi Jinping, had several meetings with Chinese companies, keynoted a business forum attended by Filipino and Chinese businessmen, and even had time to walk to a Peking duck restaurant in a busy shopping district. 

He was accompanied during his trip by several Cabinet secretaries and lawmakers. Businessmen representing 300 Filipino companies also joined some of his Beijing events. Two members of Duterte’s delegation garnered their own headlines: former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr and his sister, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos.

Duterte visit won for the Philippines plenty of cooperation deals with the Chinese government, billions worth of business and financial deals, and billions worth of developmental assistance. 

There were also many Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) signed between government agencies and companies. But in some MOUs, it is emphasized that the document is not legally-binding and that the government is free to consider other companies for the project’s implementation.

Though unquantifiable, restored diplomatic relations with China is a major milestone in his visit. He also set the stage for bilateral talks with the Asian giant on the prickly issue of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute.

Amid these accomplishments, he was unable to secure any concrete commitment from China to let Filipino fishermen fish in Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal), supposedly traditional common fishing grounds for Chinese, Filipinos and Vietnamese.

But Duterte said he and Xi were able to discuss fishing rights in their one-on-one talk, a meeting that supposedly went overtime. He hinted that there may soon be developments on the thorny issue.

Here’s a list of what Duterte was able to accomplish in China: 

‘Full recovery’ of Philippines-China bilateral relations

Agreement with President Xi Jinping to discuss West Philippine Sea dispute through bilateral talks

Agreement with President Xi Jinping for both China and Philippines to exercise ‘self-restraint’ in conducting activities in the West Philippine Sea

$24 billion (P1.16 trillion) worth of business-to-business contracts ($15 billion or P724 billion) and public financing agreements ($9 billion or P434 billion)

Some of these deals are listed below: 

  • Memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Columbus Capitana and China CAMCE Engineering Co., Ltd. involving joint projects in renewable energy, major infrastructure and real estate ($100 million)
  • Strategic Cooperation Agreemnet to infuse $200 million to build a Generation Steel Mill Plant (Mannage Resources Tradign Corp and SIIC Shanghai International Trade Hongkong)
  • MOU to invest about $500-700 million to construct  a steel plant (Global Ferronickel and Baiyin International Investment Ltd) 
  • MOU to jointly pursue development and construction of renewable energy products in various locations (Trademaster Resources Corp,  Servequest Inc. and TBEA Xinjing Sunoasis Co., Ltd worth $97 million US dollars)
  • MOU involving Davao Coastline and Port Development Project (Mega Harbour Port and Development, Inc and China Harbour Engineering Co., Ltd, worth $780 million) 
  • MOU involving Manila Harbour Center Reclamation Project (R-II Builders and China Harbour Engineering Co., Ltd, worth $148 million)
  • MOU involving Cebu International and Bulk Terminal Project ( Mega Harbour Port and Development Inc, and CCCC Dredging Co., worth $328 million) 
  • MOU worth $2.5 billion (MVP Global Infrastructure and China Railway Engineering Corp) 
  • MOU to invest $ 3 billion to build cabling manufacturing facilities (MVP Global Infrastructure and Suli Group)
  • MOU to develop Manila EDSA Bus Transportation program and for other places with initial investmenf of $100 million (Philippine State Group of Companies and Yangtse Motor Group and Minmetals International (H.K) Ltd.)
  • Cooperation agreement to invest $160 million to produce hybrid rice enough to plant in 2 million hectares of rice fields (SL Agritech and Jiangsu Hongqi Seed Co., Ltd)
  • Letter of Intent (LOI) to invest $300 million to build a manufacturing facility (Zhuhai Granton Bus and Coach Company) 
  • MOU to invest $100 million in Banana Plantation (AVLB Asia Pacific Conglomerate Inc. and Shanghai Xinwo Agriculture Development Co., Ltd) 
  • MOA on development of 300 MW Pulangi-5 Hydro Project (Greenergy Development Corp and Powerchina Guizhou Engineering Corp., worth $1 billion)
  • MOU on Pasig River, Marikina River, Manggahan Floodway Bridges Construction Project (Zonar Construct and SinoHydro, worth $600 million) 
  • Ambal Simuan Sub-River Basin of the Mindanao River Basin Flood Control Project (One White Beach Land Development Corporation and Sino Hydro, worth $325 million) 
  • Nationwide Island Provinces Link Bridges for Sustainable Development (Zonarsystems Solutions Inc and Powerchina Sinohydro, worth $800 million)

$9 billion (P433 billion) in soft loans for development projects or programs ($15 million or P724 million will go specifically to drug rehabilitation programs)

13 bilateral cooperation agreements with the Chinese government 

All the agreements are listed below:

  • Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People’s Republic of China
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the National Economic and Development Authority of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China for Developing Cooperation on Production Capacity and Investment
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works and Highways of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China on Transportation Infrastructure Cooperation Project List
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Trade and Industry of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Commerce of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Strengthening Bilateral Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the National Economic and Development Authority of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China on Formulation of the Development Program for Economic Cooperation
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Finance of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China on Supporting the Conduct of Feasibility Studies for Major Projects
  • Action Plan on Agricultural Cooperation between the Department of Agriculture of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China 2017-2019
  • Memorandum of Agreement between the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China and the Presidential Communications Operations Office of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines on News and Information Exchange, Training and for other Purposes
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Agriculture of the Republic of the Philippines and the General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China on Cooperation of Animal and Plant Inspection and Quarantine
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine Coast Guard and the China Coast Guard on the Establishment of a Joint Coast Guard Committee on Maritime Cooperation
  • Implementation Program of the Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Cooperation between the Department of Tourism of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Tourism Administration of the People’s Republic of China 2017-2022
  • Protocol on Cooperation between the Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency and the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China; and
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Financing Cooperation between the Export-Import Bank of China and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Department of Finance

Lifting of travel advisory for Chinese travelling to Philippines

Permits given back to 27 Philippine companies exporting tropical fruits

Agreement for China to open a consulate in Davao City

4 MOUs on infrastructure in former military bases

  • MOU on establishment of the Manila-Clark Railway, a cargo train connecting Subic Seaport and Clark Airport (Bases Conversion and Development Authority and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd.)
  • Fort Bonifacio-NAIA Bus Rapid Transit System (BCDA and China Road and Bridge Corporation)
  • Industrial park in Clark Green City (BCDA and CFLD Investment Pte. Ltd.)
  • Smart Cities in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig and Clark, Pampanga (BCDA and Huawei Technologies Phils. Inc.)

 

– Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.