BATANGAS, Philippines – Batangas Governor Dodo Mandanas has asked Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian for either a grant or a soft loan to be extended to the province in order to boost recovery and rehabilitation efforts following the damage brought by Taal Volcano's eruption.
In a letter to Huang dated, Friday, January 17, Mandanas said that the grant or soft loan is “relative to projects which are directed towards strengthening our development strategies.” Among these are the establishment and operation of a provincial port, Batangas Access Zone, Batangas airport, Batangas railway project, and Batangas housing project.
“Not only will this be an immediate response and mitigation effort, but we are now already rehabilitating and advancing our projects as part of our recovery and development program, hopefully with the assistance from the People’s Republic of China,” the letter read.
Mandanas also mentioned the close relationship between the province of Batangas and China having been part of the One Belt, One Road Initiative.
The Belt and Road Initiative was introduced by President Xi Jinping in 2013 as China’s initiative to engage neighboring regions in international cooperation, through land and maritime connections, to advance connectivity of infrastructure, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and close people-to-people ties.
In Batangas, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) actively participates in the investment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, together with Chelsea Logistics Holding Corp, a logistics company of businessman Dennis Uy.
The letter was handed by Mandanas to Huang after a press conference last Friday where he thanked the Chinese ambassador for their relief assistance which included 7,500 face masks, 100 kilos of rice, 16 pieces of blankets, 20 packs of biscuits and 4 liters of cooking oil. (READ: Taal Volcano threat not over a week since eruption began)
Asked about the details of the letter that circulated on social media, provincial information officer Katrin Buted said no amount was stated for the requested grant.
Buted also confirmed that Mandanas has not sent any similar request to any other ambassador. “We did not po. As of now,” she replied in a text message. – Rappler.com