THE Philippines and China on Friday entered into a six-year development program, an accord that aims to enhance and enlarge economic cooperation between the two countries.

Formally known as the Six Year Development Program for Trade and Economic Cooperation, the agreement was signed in Panacan, Davao City during Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang’s courtesy call on President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

During the event, Mr. Wang reiterated China’s commitment to follow through on the agreements made by Mr. Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping during his trip to China last year, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella said in a statement about the closed-in meeting, which was attended by top officials of Manila and Beijing. Among those in attendance include Mr. Duterte’s economic managers Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia.

For his part, Mr. Duterte for his part raised concerns on piracy and terrorism in the Asia-Pacific region, while Mr. Wang noted the need to focus on common interests between the two countries that have contested territories.

Both parties reaffirmed the importance for peaceful settlement of disputes as well as stronger bilateral ties, particularly in the fields of trade and commerce.

In separate photo releases from the Department of Finance (DoF), the department said that Mr. Dominguez and a “high-level delegation” from China led by Mr. Wang discussed the approved Philippine Development Plan and other economic developments in the country.

General updates on bilateral cooperations signed during Mr. Duterte’s visit to China were also discussed, which covered the fields of infrastructure, trade, agriculture, investments, tourism, and financing cooperation.

Feasibility studies involving two of nine Private-Public Partnership (PPP) projects agreed upon during Mr. Duterte’s trip to China — the Panay-Negros-Guimaras Bridges Project and the Davao Expressway Project — were also discussed. In October, Mr. Dominguez in China signed with Chinese Ministry of Commerce Fu Ziying the agreements on these projects. Mr. Ziying was also at yesterday’s meeting.

Mr. Wang is in the Philippines for four days, and is set to return to China tomorrow.

Mr. Duterte is set to visit China again this May.

18 March 2017
By Lucia Edna P. de Guzman