China commits $9B in 'soft loans' for PH drug rehab, dev't projects

BEIJING, China – President Rodrigo Duterte is bringing home a commitment from China to provide a $9-billion (P432 billion) “soft loan” for development projects, including drug rehabilitation programs.

The commitment was made by Chinese President Xi Jinping himself during his meeting with Duterte on Thursday, October 20. The meeting was part of Duterte’s 4-day state visit to China. 

Some $3 billion (P144 billion) of the total loan will “come in the form of credit from private banks,” according to a Malacañang press release.

Of the total, $15 million (P720 million) or 100 renminbi worth of soft loans will be devoted to drug rehabilitation programs.

China has expressed support for Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign. It reiterated this support in a Foreign Ministry statement after bilateral talks between Duterte and Xi. 

Chinese businessmen and philanthropist Huang Rulun has donated a mega drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija to be completed in November.

A Chinese group, called Friends of the Philippines Foundation, also plans to donate a drug rehab facility. They were able to show Duterte a blueprint of the building’s design during a lunch in a Beijing restaurant with the Philippine President.

Duterte has not hesitated to express his gratitude to China for its help, contrasting it with the United States who he blames for “filibustering” instead of “acting like a friend.” 

The US and its President Barack Obama have criticized Duterte’s drug war, raising concern for the spate of extrajudicial killings being linked to it. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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