By Malou Mangahas and Karol Ilagan
‘$24-B’ not yet a cinch: Brokers stalk talks, contracting so tedious
MANILA, Philippines (Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism) — At the close of his four-day state visit to Beijing last October, a pleased President Rodrigo Duterte proclaimed to the world that the Philippines and China were now besties, or the best of friends.
As proof positive, Duterte and his Cabinet secretaries showed off to reporters and businessmen from 300 Philippine-based companies who joined the Beijing entourage sheafs of paper—13 various bilateral agreements (via memoranda of agreement or MOA and memoranda of understanding or MOU) that they had signed with their Chinese counterparts.
The documents supposedly testify to Beijing’s love for Manila. These papers, though, offer only indicative values of how much in pesos and centavos that love is worth. That love, too, has to move beyond intention to reality, across months or even years of negotiations between Manila and Beijing.
Yet Duterte and his Cabinet secretaries were quick to quote a fabulous figure at the end of the visit: They pegged the agreements to be a total of $24 billion or about P1.2 trillion in loans and grants for mostly infrastructure projects that the Duterte administration plans to roll out, as well as for investment projects that Filipino and Chinese companies want to launch.
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PacificSentinel: When you've read the rest of the above story, try part 2 : Manila, Beijing dating again: ‘Who is the screwer, screwed?’